One in 20 people will develop colorectal cancer in his or her lifetime. But with early detection and new, advanced treatments, at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers we are working to shine a light on how preventable, treatable and beatable this disease can be.
Knowledge is Power
Recognize the potential warning signs of colon cancer and reach out to your doctor for follow-up if you experience them.
- Feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
- Diarrhea, constipation or other changes in bowel habits that last for more than a few days
- Weight loss when you’re not trying to lose weight
- Persistent abdominal (belly) discomfort: cramps, gas, pain, or feeling full or bloated
- Constant fatigue or unexplained weakness
- Blood in stool/rectal bleeding
Don’t Be in the Dark
Screenings save lives. There are several types of screenings available so it is important to talk with your doctor regarding which is most appropriate for you. A colonoscopy is the screening most associated with colorectal cancer. With a colonoscopy a doctor can look at the inner lining of the large intestine. During the procedure if polyps, abnormal growths in the colon or rectum are found they can be removed and biopsied to determine if they are cancerous. If caught early the disease is highly beatable.
- Begin screenings at age 50 if you’re not at high risk or experiencing any of the warning signs.
Begin screenings at age 45 if you’re African American or at increased risk due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or colitis.
- If you have a family history of colon cancer you may need a colonoscopy at age 40, or 10 years before the earliest diagnosis in your family. Genetic testing and counseling can help you understand your risk for colorectal cancer
- If you are a young adult between 20 and 49 and experiencing the warnings signs of colon cancer be proactive and talk to your doctor about having a colonoscopy. While hemorrhoids, anemia and stress may all be cited as possible causes for the symptoms a colonoscopy can definitively confirm what is going on.
Spotlight on Young Adults At Risk
What was once typically thought of as a cancer more likely to surface in “middle age” is now increasingly becoming more prevalent among young adults. Although there have been many studies on the cause of colorectal cancer, there still are no clear links. Factors that can increase colorectal cancer risk include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Physical inactivity
- A diet high in red meat and low in fruits and vegetables
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Family history (Genetic predispositions such as Lynch Syndrome and Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP))
- A history of type 2 diabetes
If caught early it is highly curable. Yet only about a third of cases are diagnosed in the early, highly curable stages of the disease.
Leading the Way
As Colorado’s only community-based research program, Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers offers patients access to colorectal clinical trials including immunotherapy and targeted therapies.
From Aurora to Longmont, Pueblo to Steamboat Springs with 20 locations across Colorado we bring advanced cancer care and treatments, research and technology into the communities where our patients live.