Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum. It is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. More than 130,000 people are diagnosed with it every year and it kills about 50,000 people every year. Health Briefs TV reminds readers of what to know.
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Colon cancer usually begins as precancerous clumps of cells, called polyps, which form in the lining of the colon. If the cells multiply out of control, they destroy normal body tissue and are cancerous.
Rick factors for this type of cancer are:
- People over age 60
- Certain genetic diseases like familial polyposis
- Certain medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease
- History of other cancers like breast cancer
- Lifestyle factors such as eating a lot of red meat, low-fiber diets, smoking and being sedentary
- African or European descent
Early signs of trouble may be:
- Noticeable blood in the stool
- Abdominal distention
- Weight loss
- Changes in bowel movements
The Health Briefs TV show recommends requesting a screening from your health care professional. This can include: a direct colonoscopy, a virtual colonoscopy, sigmidoscopy, and an annual stool screening. Screening should start around age 50 and the type and frequency of the screening should be based on risk factors.
People diagnosed with colorectal cancer in its early stages have a much better chance of living than those who wait until too late. Call the family physician and request a screening today. Prevention is the key to living. And life is worth living.