Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

A Preventable Disease

Colorectal cancer—which affects the colon or rectum—is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. It is also the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. among older men and women, with more than 90 percent of cases occurring at age 50 and up. Fortunately, it is one of the most preventable cancers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60 percent of deaths might be prevented through regular screenings. In fact, if colorectal cancer is detected at its earliest stage, the survival rate is greater than 90 percent.

Screenings

Colorectal cancer typically begins as a polyp (a growth on the inner wall of the colon or rectum) and might not produce symptoms at first. Screening tests can find these polyps so they can be removed before becoming cancerous. The CDC recommends that most healthy people have an initial screening soon after turning 50, then continue having screenings at regular intervals. However, if you or close relatives have had cancer or inflammatory bowel disease in the past, you may need to be screened at an earlier age.

Prevention

According to some studies, the risk for colorectal cancer can be decreased by exercising and maintaining a healthy weight, but currently there is no indication that certain foods can contribute to, or decrease, the chances of developing the disease. Even so, medical experts recommend following a diet that is low in fat and high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which will benefit your overall health and reduce your risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes and other conditions. Researchers are also investigating ways in which aspirin, calcium, vitamin D and selenium might help to combat colorectal cancer. However, until more definitive results are available, the best way to reduce your risk is to have screenings.

Next Steps

For more information or to schedule an appointment for a colonoscopy screening, please contact the Gastroenterology Department at Wenatchee Valley Medical Center at (509) 663-8711


Colorectal Cancer Documents:

Brochure

Fact Sheet

Fast Facts

Risk Factors


 

Online Resources:

Centers for Disease Control
Colorectal cancer information from the CDC.

Colon Cancer Alliance
The CCA is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to increasing screening rates and survivorship

Fight Colorectal Cancer
This organization provides colorectal cancer advocacy, training and education.

Prevent Cancer Foundation
Founded in 1985, the Prevent Cancer Foundation strives to save lives through cancer prevention and early detection.