Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum. These cancers can also be named colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where they start. Colon cancer and rectal cancer are often grouped together because they have many features in common. Cancer starts when cells in the body start to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can spread to other areas of the body. Colorectal cancer may be benign, or non-cancerous, or malignant. A malignant cancer can spread to other parts of the body and damage them.

 

Source: American Cancer Society

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

Sometimes if you have polyps, you may have changes in your body called sign or symptoms.

If you have any of the following changes that last for more than a week, talk to your doctor.

These may be signs of colon cancer.

 

  • Change in how often you poop
  • Trouble pooping
  • Poop looks different
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Blood in poop
  • Belly is enlarge or painful
  • Feeling full (even after pooping)
symptoms of colorectal cancer, the body's digestive system

Learn about testing options available at Primary Health Care and how you get screened for little or no cost.

Receive a $10 gift card when you complete your screening. Talk to a Screening Specialist today!

 

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Risk Factors

Your risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you get older. More than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older.

know what your risk factors are for colorectal cancer

Other risk factors include having

 

  • Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps.
  • A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome).

 

Lifestyle factors that may contribute to an increased risk of colorectal cancer include:

 

  • Lack of regular physical activity.
  • A diet low in fruit and vegetables.
  • A low-fiber and high-fat diet.
  • Overweight and obesity.
  • Alcohol consumption.
  • Tobacco use.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Learn about testing options available at Primary Health Care and how you get screened for little or no cost.

Receive a $10 gift card when you complete your screening. Talk to a Screening Specialist today!

 

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Screening

 

What is a ColoRectal Screening?

A screening test is used to look for a disease when a person doesn’t have symptoms. (When a person has symptoms, diagnostic tests are used to find out the cause of the symptoms.) Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum.

Screening tests can find precancerous polyps, so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.

why you should get screened for colorectal cancer

Why ColoRectal Screening Is Important?

 

  • Of cancers affecting both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be.
  • Screening can find precancerous polyps—abnormal growths in the colon or rectum—so they can be removed before turning into cancer.
  • Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment often leads to a cure.
  • Screening is the process of looking for cancer in people who have no symptoms.

 

You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, then continue getting screened at regular intervals. However, you may need to be tested earlier than 50, or more often than other people, if—

 

  • You or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
  • You have an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • You have a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome).

 

If you think you are at increased risk for colorectal cancer, speak with your doctor about—

 

  • When to begin screening.
  • Which test is right for you.
  • How often to get tested.
Learn more on the CDC’s website. [cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal]

Screening Tests

Several screening tests can be used to find polyps or colorectal cancer. Talk to your doctor about which of the following tests are right for you.

stool-based tests are a popular alternative to colonoscopy

Stool Tests

  • The guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) uses the chemical guaiac to detect blood in the stool. It is done once a year. For this test, you receive a test kit from your health care provider. At home, you use a stick or brush to obtain a small amount of stool. You return the test kit to the doctor or a lab, where the stool samples are checked for the presence of blood.
  • The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) uses antibodies to detect blood in the stool. It is also done once a year in the same way as a gFOBT.
  • The FIT-DNA test (also referred to as the stool DNA test) combines the FIT with a test that detects altered DNA in the stool. For this test, you collect an entire bowel movement and send it to a lab to be checked for cancer cells. It is done once every one or three years.

Other tests

 

  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy For this test, the doctor puts a short, thin, flexible, lighted tube into your rectum. The doctor checks for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and lower third of the colon. How often: Every 5 years, or every 10 years with a FIT every year.
  • Colonoscopy This is similar to flexible sigmoidoscopy, except the doctor uses a longer, thin, flexible, lighted tube to check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the entire colon. During the test, the doctor can find and remove most polyps and some cancers. Colonoscopy also is used as a follow-up test if anything unusual is found during one of the other screening tests. How often: Every 10 years.
  • CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy) Computed tomography (CT) colonography, also called a virtual colonoscopy, uses X-rays and computers to produce images of the entire colon, which are displayed on a computer screen for the doctor to analyze. How often: Every 5 years.

Learn about testing options available at Primary Health Care and how you get screened for little or no cost.

Receive a $10 gift card when you complete your screening. Talk to a Screening Specialist today!

LEARN MORE

Need to get tested?

It’s important to get screened because early colorectal cancer does not have signs and symptoms. If  you wait until symptoms of the disease have progressed, treatment can be harder.  It’s key to catch it early, when it’s more easily treated.

How Do I Know Which Screening Test Is Right for Me?

There is no single “best test” for any person. Each test has advantages and disadvantages. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of each test, and how often to be tested.

Which test to use depends on—

  • Your preferences.
  • Your medical condition.
  • The likelihood that you will get the test.
  • The resources available for testing and follow-up.

 

Speak to a PHC Screening Specialist to discuss your options. Complete your colorectal cancer screening and receive a $10 gas card. Call (515) 248-1833 for more details.