According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control.
When cancer starts in the colon or rectum, it is called colorectal cancer. Sometimes it is called colon cancer, for short.
Colorectal cancer affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, and is most often found in people who are 50 years old or older.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be.
Colorectal cancer screening saves lives. Screening can find precancerous polyps—abnormal growths in the colon or rectum—that can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment works best.
About 9 out of every 10 people whose colorectal cancers are found early and treated appropriately are still alive five years later.
The Clinton County 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment found that the leading causes of cancer deaths in Clinton County are lung, prostate, female breast and colorectal cancer, with both lung and colorectal cancer rates ranking above both the Ohio and U.S. incidence rates.
Your risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you get older. About 90 percent of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older. Other risk factors include having any of the following:
• Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
• Personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps
• Genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome)
If you think you are at risk, speak with your doctor as to when you should begin screening.
Lifestyle factors that may contribute to an increased risk of colorectal cancer include: lack of regular physical activity; a diet low in fruit and vegetables; a low-fiber and high-fat diet or a diet high in processed meats; overweight and obesity; alcohol consumption; and tobacco use.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults age 50 to 75 get screened for colorectal cancer.
The decision to get screened after age 75 should be made on an individual basis. If you are older than 75, ask your doctor if you should be screened. People at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer should talk to their doctors about when to begin screening, which test is right for them, and how often to get tested.
For more information on colorectal cancer, go to www.CDC.gov or www.cancer.org If there are other health topics you would be interested in learning about contact the Clinton County Health District at 937-382-3829.
Note: The Clinton County Health District will be offering CPR class on Friday, March 20 from 1-4 p.m. To register for this class call the Clinton County Health District at 937-382-3829.
Pam Daniel MSN, RN is Health Professional-Community Educator for the Clinton County Health District.