cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum in the lower part of the digestive
system. Colorectal cancer can also be
referred to as colon cancer. Some
individuals develop polyps, which are abnormal growths, within the colon or
rectum. Over time, some of these polyps
may develop into colorectal cancer.
Almost all colorectal cancers begin as a precancerous polyp.
In Pennsylvania Colorectal
Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death behind lung
cancer. Although incidence and death
rates in Pennsylvania are improving, they are still higher than the national
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR COLORECTAL CANCER?
Age – As individuals
age, their risk of developing colorectal cancer increases, with more than 90 percent
of the cases occurring in individuals who are 50 or older.
Personal or family history – Having colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer, or being
related to someone that has increases your risk of getting colorectal cancer.
Genetic syndromes – Having familial adenomatous polyps (FAP) or Lynch syndrome increases
Lifestyle Factors – The factors below may also
increase your risk:
of regular physical activity;
fruit and vegetable intake;
low-fiber and high-fat diet;
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO REDUCE THE RISK OF DEVELOPING COLORECTAL CANCER?
all colorectal cancers start as a precancerous polyp, colorectal cancer
screening can be used to find and remove these polyps before an individual
develops cancer. These polyps can be
present for many years without causing any symptoms, which is why screening is
so important. The screening can prevent
cancer altogether by removing the precancerous polyp before it becomes cancer
or can detect colorectal cancer early. Early
detection provides the greatest chance the treatment will be effective and lead
to a cure. Regular colorectal screening
tests should begin at the age of 50.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS?
polyps and colorectal cancer may not cause any symptoms, especially early
on. Because there may not be symptoms,
it is very important for individuals to get screened regularly to try and catch
the cancer before it begins or in early stages.
are present they may include:
in or on your stool (bowel movement);
pain, aches, or cramps that don’t go away; and
weight without knowing.
ARE THERE SCREENING GUIDELINES FOR COLORECTAL CANCER?
recommended that individuals begin screening at age 50 through age 75. There are three methods for colorectal
screening: high sensitivity fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy or
colonoscopy. Talk to your doctor about
which screening method is right for you and how often you should have it done.