Colorectal Cancer Risks and Prevention
In 2017, the American Cancer Society predicts some 135,000 new cases of colorectal cancer and about 50,000 deaths. But this doesn’t have to be the case! The disease is largely preventable with regular screening and is treatable with early detection.
If you are over 45 or have a family history of colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about getting screened today. The more you know, the better you can take care of your health.
Colorectal Cancer Signs & Symptoms
Colorectal cancer—also commonly called colon cancer—often has no symptoms. This is why screening is so important. These symptoms, however, might indicate colorectal cancer:
- Blood in your stools
- Unexplained abdominal pain
- Unexplained change in bowel habits
- Unexplained anemia
- Unexplained weight loss
Colon cancer is mostly preventable with regular screening. Screening can help catch colon cancer at an early, curable stage. It also gives your care team the ability to find and remove precancerous polyps.
Beginning at age 45, both men and women who are at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should have a screening colonoscopy and then repeat the procedure every 10 years. All men and women are at risk for colorectal cancer. However, African Americans, Hispanics and Ashkenazi Jews (people of Eastern European descent) are at a higher risk for the disease than other populations.
Understand Your Insurance Coverage
Before you get your screening, be sure to talk with your insurance company about your coverage for a colonoscopy. It’s important to understand your insurance coverage for a routine, preventive colonoscopy screening—but also your coverage if a biopsy or polyp is removed during your screening.