Colorectal Cancer Early Prevention Could Save Your Life
In both men and women, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer related deaths. However, CRC is also one of the most preventable cancers. And early detection and treatment can greatly increase your chance of survival.
Who should get tested?
Screenings are performed on people who do not necessarily have any symptoms that may be signs of cancer. All men and women between the ages of 50-75 should get screened for colorectal cancer. If you are at a high risk or have family history of colorectal cancer, ask your doctor if you should be screened at an earlier age.
Why should you get tested?
The main goal of colorectal cancer screenings is to prevent the cancer from ever starting. Most colorectal cancers develop from fleshy growths called polyps on the inside of the colon or rectum. Though most polyps will not become cancerous, detecting and removing them through screening can actually prevent cancer from occurring. The American death rate from colorectal cancer has decreased nearly thirty percent in the past decade thanks to these preventive screenings and removal of precancerous polyps.
How and when should you get tested?
There are a few different ways to be tested for colorectal cancer. Talk to your doctor to find out what option he or she recommends for you.
- High-Sensitivity FOBT (Stool Test) Once a year
You receive a test kit from your doctor. At home, you use a stick or brush to obtain a small amount of stool. You return the test kit to the doctor or a lab, where the stool samples are checked for the presence of blood.
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Every five years
For this test, the doctor puts a short, thin, flexible, lighted tube into the rectum. The doctor checks for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and lower third of the colon.
- Colonoscopy Every ten years
This is similar to flexible sigmoidoscopy, except the doctor uses a longer, thin, flexible, lighted tube to check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the entire colon. During the test, the doctor can find and remove most polyps and some cancers.
Getting Tested Really Pays Off!
HAP will be offering several prize drawings in the upcoming year to members who receive a colorectal cancer screening test in 2013. Look for information in the mail that will be sent out to you.
For more information about colorectal cancer, visit the American Cancer Society website .