It’s not something we like to talk about, but approximately 133,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are detected each year in the United States. However, if detected early, colorectal cancers have a high rate of survival. Colon cancer often has no early symptoms. Catching it early through regular screenings, as recommended by your doctor, can help you stop it in its tracks.
Colorectal cancer occurs when some of the cells that line the colon or the rectum become abnormal and grow out of control. The abnormal growing cells create a tumor, which is the cancer. Many colon cancers start as small growths on the inside of the colon called polyps. Most of these growths are benign, but occasionally one can become a cancerous tumor. If colorectal cancer is diagnosed and treated early, while the tumor is still localized, the disease is highly curable with five-year survival rates of about 90%.
Colorectal Cancer Risks
- If you or a family member has a history of colon polyps or cancer, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, or cancers of the pancreas, breast, ovaries, or uterus.
- If you are over age 50
- If your diet is low in fruits and vegetables
- Chemical exposure
- Smoking and alcohol consumption of more than 4 drink per week
Get Your Colonoscopy
Talk to your doctor about when you should have a colonoscopy. The timing of colonoscopy screening exams is dependent upon your family history, your age and your personal health history.