Take Action to Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Impact Of Colorectal Cancer
What Is Colorectal Cancer?
- Colorectal cancer starts when cells in the colon or rectum start to grow out of control.
- Most colorectal cancer starts as a growth, known as a polyp, on the lining of the colon or rectum.
- Most polyps are benign or noncancerous. However, some polyps can become malignant or cancerous.
- Early detection can prevent the spread of colorectal cancer.3
Why Is Colorectal Cancer So Important To Prevent In Suffolk County?
- Colorectal cancer affects the lives of many people in the United States and Suffolk County. Recent estimates predict that in 2018, colorectal cancer will rank the fourth highest in the number of new cases of cancer diagnosed and the second highest cause of cancer deaths in New York State.1
- The New York State Cancer Registry reports that from 2011 to 2015, the incidence rate per 100,000 males in Suffolk County was 48.7 cases of colorectal cancer, and for females the incidence rate per 100,000 in Suffolk County was 33.9.
- During that same timeframe from 2011 to 2015, the mortality rates for males and females in Suffolk County were 16.2 per 100,000 and 10.4 per 100,000, respectively.4
- According to the American Cancer Society, the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States is projected to be 43,030 new cases of rectal cancer and 97,220 new cases of colon cancer in 2018. Additionally, colorectal cancer is estimated to result in the deaths of approximately 50,630 people in 2018.5
What Are The Symptoms Of Colorectal Cancer?
- Colorectal cancer does not always cause symptoms, especially in the early stages, which is why screening is so important.
- If you have any of the following symptoms, please see your primary health care provider:
- Diarrhea, constipation or narrowing of the stool
- Feeling the need to have a bowel movement even after having one
- Blood in the stool
- Abdominal pain or stomach cramps that don’t go away
- Unintended weight loss6
Who Is At Higher Risk of Colorectal Cancer?
- People with a personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps and inflammatory bowel disease
- People who have certain inherited syndromes that are linked to colorectal cancer (such as Lynch Syndrome)
- People with a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- People who have type 2 diabetes7
Preventing Colorectal Cancer
What Are Some Ways You Can Lower Your Risk Of Colorectal Cancer?
To help prevent colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society and other health organizations recommend the following:
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and low in processed meat (such as cold cuts or hot dogs) and red meat (such as lamb, beef or pork)
- Be physically active each day
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Limit how much alcohol you drink
- Avoid smoking2
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Why Is Colorectal Screening Important?
Getting screened for colorectal cancer is very important because not only will it detect cancer at an early stage before you have symptoms but it could also prevent cancer by detecting polyps before they become cancerous. Treatment for colorectal cancer is very effective if the cancer is found early through screening. 8
According to the American Cancer Society, “Regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful weapons against colorectal cancer”.9
What Age Should I Start Colorectal Cancer Screening?
For people of average risk of colorectal cancer there is general agreement that screening should begin at age 45. However, you should always talk to your health care provider about what is right for you.
- For American Cancer Society’s recommendations,10 click here
- For U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s recommendations,11 click here
- For Cancer Services Program of Suffolk County’s recommendations,12 click here
- For Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations,13 click here
What Screening Tests Are Available For Colorectal Cancer?
- There are several screening tests that are available including:
- Stool screening
- Fecal occult blood test (Guaiac FOBT & Immunochemical FOBT)
- DNA stool test
- Visual screening
- Sigmoidoscopy and
- Virtual colonoscopy
- Stool screening tests look for small quantities of blood in the stool. A colonoscopy is a visual exam in which a thin, flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the colon to look for polyps or cancer. If polyps are found during this test, they are often promptly removed, thus preventing the development of colon cancer.14
- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended in 2008 that for those at average risk, a colonoscopy should be done every 10 years and a sigmoidoscopy combined with a fecal occult blood test be done every 3 years.11
- Talk with your medical provider to determine which screening test is appropriate for you.
If You Do Not Have Insurance Coverage For Colorectal Cancer Screening, Contact The Cancer Services Program Of Suffolk County At: