March Is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March 6, 2013 Updates

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States that affect both men and women. Every year, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it.
If you’re 50 years old or older, getting a screening test for colorectal cancer could save your life. Colorectal cancer screening tests can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. In this way, colorectal cancer is prevented. Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment often leads to a cure. You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, then keep getting screened regularly until the age of 75. Ask your doctor if you should be screened if you’re older than 75.
Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is so important. Symptoms for colorectal cancer may include—
• Blood in or on the stool (bowel movement).
• Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away.
• Losing weight and you don’t know why.
These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you’re having any of these symptoms, the only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.