Why It’s Critical to Keep up with Your Colorectal Cancer Screenings

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United State, and for individuals who may have fallen off on their annual check ups, it’s important to engage back into care and ask your provider about colorectal cancer detection. As a reminder, early detection saves lives.

What is Colorectal Cancer?

The third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., colon cancer occurs in the colon or rectum. Colon and rectal cancers are often grouped together because of the similarity in symptoms and can be referred to as ‘colorectal’ cancer. Most colorectal cancers start as a polyp, or growth, on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. There are different types of polyp; some types of polyps can change into cancer over time, but not all polyps become cancer.

Who Gets Colon Cancer?

The risk of getting colon cancer, also called colorectal cancer, increases with age. Men and women over the age of 50 are most likely to be diagnosed. 

What are the Signs of Colon Cancer?

If you have any of the following symptoms, we recommend you contact your ACCESS provider:

  • Change in bowel habits that lasts for more than a few days
  • Feeling like you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in the stool
  • Cramping or abdominal pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss 

How Can Colon Cancer be Prevented?

Early detection is key. There are different types of screenings that can test for colon cancer:

  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) Kit – An at-home test for colorectal cancer that looks for the presence of blood in the stool. This should be done every year and is especially convenient during the Coronavirus pandemic because it can be done at home. Schedule a telehealth appointment with your ACCESS provider and talk to them about a FIT Kit.
  • Colonoscopy – An outpatient procedure where a tube-like instrument with a scope (light and tiny video camera on the end) is put into the rectum to look at the structure of the colon and rectum for any abnormal areas.

How We Can Help

Depending on the recommendation of your ACCESS provider and based on your health and family history, they may suggest one screening type over another. ACCESS offers in-person and telehealth appointments, so schedule an appointment with your ACCESS provider to learn more about how you can lower your risk of colorectal cancer. 

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As of November 12, 2022