Colorectal Cancer…You Can Prevent It
Colorectal cancer is the second largest cancer killer in the United States, yet it is one of the most preventable types of cancer. Colorectal cancer is often curable when detected early.
- Lifetime risk of colorectal cancer is roughly equal in men and women.
- Colorectal cancer is most common after age 50, but it can strike at younger ages. The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age.
Who is Considered High Risk?
Colonoscopy is recommended for individuals of any age who are at higher than average risk for developing colorectal cancer by virtue of:
- Personal history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps
- A strong family history of the disease
- Inherited forms of colorectal polyps or cancer
- Predisposing chronic digestive condition such as inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
Recommendations for how often colonoscopy should be performed vary for different subsets of high risk individuals, and they should consult with their physician.
Most early colorectal cancers produce no symptoms. This is why screening for colorectal cancer is so important. Some possible symptoms, listed below, do not always indicate the presence of colorectal cancer, but should prompt a visit with your physician and a checkup:
• New onset of abdominal pain
• Blood in or on the stool or a change in stool caliber or shape
• A change in typical bowel habits, constipation, diarrhea
Screening tests can find polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer
- Most colorectal cancers develop from polyps, which are abnormal growths in the colon. If polyps grow unnoticed and are not removed, they may become cancerous. Screening tests can find pre-cancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.
- The development of more than 75‐90 percent of colorectal cancer can be avoided through early detection and removal of pre-cancerous polyps.
My thanks to my acquaintance Dr. Frank Gress and the American College of Gastroenterology for sharing this valuable information.
Yours in health,
Dr. Francis Gonzalez, ND