Colorectal cancer screening is essential and lifesaving. In the U.S., colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cancer, yet it is also one of the most preventable. It’s highly treatable and often curable when caught early. If you’re 45 or older, get screened. If you’re at high risk, you may need to start sooner.
SCREENING IS THE BEST PREVENTION TOOL
Screening is the #1 way to prevent colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer usually begins as a benign polyp in the lining of the colon or rectum. Polyps are common. Your gastroenterologist can spot and remove polyps during a colonoscopy before they progress to invasive cancer, which can occur over time and is more likely as the polyps increase in size.
DON’T IGNORE SYMPTOMS
REGARDLESS of age, talk to your gastroenterologist about new or worrying symptoms, even those that seem hard to share, including:
- Blood in/on stool
- Weight lott
- Change in bowel habits
- Change in shape/size of stool
- Abdominal or rectal pain
ARE YOU AT HIGH RISK?
Your risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you get older. Other risk factors include:
- Age 45+
- Family history of cancer
- Low fiber diet
- History of inflammatory bowel disease
- Heavy alcohol use
BUT IF NOTHING IS WRONG, GET SCREENED
Colorectal cancer doesn’t usually cause symptoms until late stages, so proactive screening starting at age 45 is one of the only ways to detect these types of cancers.