This month for Buddy Check9, we are focusing on colorectal cancer. Information for this story has been provided by Colorado Cancer Coalition, American Cancer Society, Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HealthONE, and the University of Colorado Cancer Center.
Call to Action
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women combined. Through regular screening, colorectal cancer can be detected at its earliest and most treatable stage. Screening can also prevent colorectal cancer altogether. Colonoscopy can detect pre-cancerous polyps – and remove them on the spot before they have the chance to become cancer.
Men and women are encouraged to talk with their physician about colorectal cancer screening and the test that is best for them. The American Cancer Society recommends men and women at average risk begin screening at age 50. People with a family history of the disease may want to talk to their physician before age 50.
Colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer don't always cause symptoms, especially at first. Someone could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why getting screened regularly for colorectal cancer is so important.
If you have symptoms, they may include—
Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement).
Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that don’t go away.
Losing weight and you don’t know why.
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. They may be caused by something other than cancer. The only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.
The American Cancer Society, the US Preventive Services Task Force, and the American College of Gastroenterology recommend that men and women at average risk begin screening at age 50. There are a variety of test options, including colonoscopy which not only detects cancer, but also prevents colorectal cancer with the removal of any polys that are found. There are also simple take home tests that test for blood in the stool. People are encouraged to talk to their doctor about the test that is best for them.
People at increased risk for colorectal cancer may need to begin screening before age 50. Those at increased risk include:
A personal history of colorectal cancer, adenomatous polyps or inflammatory bowel disease
A strong family history of polyps or colorectal cancer or a family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome
Colorectal Cancer in Younger People
More and more people considered “too young” for colon cancer are getting the disease. Often, their cancer will have progressed to a more advanced stage because colon cancer will not be on the radar of a primary care physician caring for someone under the age of 40. The reasons for higher incidence in people under the age of 40 is unclear. Researchers at University of Colorado Cancer Center are looking specifically at whether there is a difference in what causes and drives colon cancer in younger people. They also want to know whether younger people with colon cancer respond differently to various treatments.
The death rate in the 20-54 age group has been increasing by 1% each year from 2004 to 2014. Before that, in the mid-70s to 1990s, the death rate had been decreasing by about 2% each year.
People are encouraged to talk with their physician if they have any symptoms, and to determine the best time to start screening based on medical and family history.
When Should I Begin to Get Screened
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 or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (lynch syndrome).
Speak with your doctor about when you should begin screening and how often you should be tested.
Colorectal Cancer Alliance Denver Undie RunWalk
Saturday, June 23, 2018
For details visit https://fundraise.ccalliance.org/denver
This year in Colorado the American Cancer Society estimates that 1,850 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and an estimated 660 people will die from the disease.
1 in 21 men and 1 in 25 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in their lifetime in Colorado. As of 2016, there were approximately 17,100 colorectal survivors living in Colorado.
Screening can help find and prevent colorectal cancer, and it is one of the most successfully treated cancers if diagnosed early. The five-year survival rate is around 90 percent for colorectal cancers caught in their earliest stage.
Thank you to the Colorado Cancer Coalition for information that was used in this article. The Colorado Cancer Coalition is a statewide collaborative working to eliminate the burden of cancer in Colorado. Our task forces and members work together to improve the life of all Coloradans touched by cancer. To learn more go to http://www.coloradocancercoalition.org. The Colorado Cancer Coalition is a sponsored project of the Trailhead Institute, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the public's health and the environment in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.
Thank you to the American Cancer Society for contributing information that was used in this article. For cancer information and resources, contact the American Cancer Society 24 hours a day at 1-800-227-2345 or visit http://www.cancer.org. The Society’s mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.
Thank you to the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HealthONE for contributing information that was used in this article. askSARAH – Have cancer questions? Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HealthONE is pleased to offer access to askSARAH- a dedicated helpline designed to help answer your cancer-related questions. Whether you have been recently diagnosed with cancer or have questions about screening, signs or symptoms, a registered askSARAH nurse can help. Committed to ensuring you have the right resources close to home, our nurses are available 24/7. Calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at 303.253.3225 to connect directly to a nurse to help guide you.
The University of Colorado Cancer Center, headquartered at the Anschutz Medical Campus, is Colorado’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, a distinction recognizing its outstanding contributions to research, clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. CU Cancer Center is a consortium of approximately 400 researchers and physicians at three state universities and three clinical institutions, all working toward one goal: Translating science into life. For more information visit http://Coloradocancercenter.org.