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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

  • Category: Cancer Care, News
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Ashley Rains

Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Colorectal cancer affects people in all racial and ethnic groups and is most common in people age 50 and older. Routine testing can help prevent colorectal cancer or even find it in an early stage, when it is smaller and easier to treat.

Most colorectal cancers start as a growth on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. These growths are called polyps. Some types of polyps can change into cancer over time (usually many years), but not all polyps become cancer. The chance of a polyp turning into cancer depends on the type of polyp it is.

Some risk factors, such as family history or age, cannot be changed, of course. However, factors such as smoking, diet and obesity can and should be controlled for cancer prevention. Primary prevention factors include weight control, increase in physical activity, tobacco control and having pre-cancerous polyps excised.

Having a colonoscopy aids in secondary prevention. Individuals should be screened using a colonoscopy every five to10 years after they turn 50 depending on their family and medical history and risk. People at increased or high risk of colorectal cancer might need to start colorectal cancer screening before age 45, be screened more often and/or get specific types of tests.

Infirmary Cancer Care stands with our patients through our continuum of care: prevention, early detection, diagnosis, staging, treatment and remission – every step of the way. Call 251-435-CARE (2273) for more information and visit InfirmaryCancerCare.org for more information about prevention, screening and treatment.