January 08, 2022
4 Key Facts to Know About Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States behind lung cancer, with around 51,000 deaths expected from the disease in 2022. But by knowing the warning signs, leading a healthy lifestyle, and following your doctor’s advice about regular screenings can all help avoid being a victim of this disease, as it is usually manageable if caught early.
Center’s Healthcare has four key facts to know about colorectal cancer.
- Know the Signs
Colorectal cancer grows slowly, so the signs usually begin subtle. Some, like rectal bleeding and blood in the stool, are easier to recognize than others. More subtle signs include a change in bowel movements that lasts more than four days, an urge to have a bowel movement that remains after having one, unintended weight loss, and belly pain, weakness or general fatigue.
- Screening Saves Lives
Studies show around 90% of those with early-stage colorectal cancer have a great long-term survival prognosis. Screening can also prevent cancer by having polyps removed before they may become cancerous. The average person starts screening around age 45, but higher-risk individuals are recommended to begin earlier.
- More Screening Options Besides a Colonoscopy
Even though a colonoscopy is the most common form of screening, less-invasive options are available, especially if you are younger and not in a high-risk group. Several types of stool tests that you can do at home are options. The goal is to get more people to do any level of screening, and then if an at-home test shows a warning sign, then a follow-up colonoscopy is performed.
- Know the Risk Factors
A family history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps is considered a risk factor for the disease, as are other conditions like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. Lifestyle factors like smoking, carrying extra weight around the midsection, a diet high in red meat and processed meats, and a sedentary lifestyle are all to be taken into consideration.