What should you know?
Colorectal cancer affects men and women equally, and about 1 in 23 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Those at risk include:
- Individuals with a personal or family history with polyps or cancer
- People over 50
- Those with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Individuals with the genetic conditions HNPCC or FAP
- Certain ethnicities, including Jews of Eastern European descent, African Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and Latinos
Prevention can mean everything, so if any of these factors apply to you or a loved one, seeing a doctor is the first step. More than half the people diagnosed with colorectal cancer have no symptoms, but there are warning signs to be aware of. If you experience these, you should talk to your doctor:
- Trouble going to the bathroom
- Blood in your stool
- Persistent stomach aches
- Nausea or vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Weakness or fatigue
You can help spread awareness about colorectal cancer. Ninety percent of new cases occur in people 50 and older, but diagnoses are on the rise for those under 50, as well. Don’t ignore the symptoms and risks associated with the disease. Ask family members if they’ve been screened and encourage them to do so if they haven’t. Promote a healthy diet, regular exercise, limiting alcohol intake and not smoking. You should also encourage loved ones to know their family health history. This helps prevent many diseases and conditions.
Don’t assume you can’t help end colorectal cancer. Visit freemanhealth.com/colon for more information or talk to your doctor.