March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March 4, 2014 by Molly Huff

Did you know that colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States? Colorectal cancer affects people from all ethnic and racial backgrounds and is most often found in people age 50 and up. March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and Affinity Health Clinic would like to give you some information on prevention and early detection. If you feel you need to see one of the gastroenterologists at Affinity or if it is time for your scheduled screening, please contact us and our Affinity Gastroenterology department. 

Colorectal Cancer Prevention:

  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes, at least five days a week.
  • Maintain healthy weight.
  • Don't smoke. If you do smoke, quit now.
  • If you drink alcohol, have no more than one drink per day if you're a woman or two drinks a day if you're a man.
  • Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Eat less red meat and cut out processed meat.

Colorectal Cancer Early Detection - If you're at average risk for colorectal cancer, start your screenings at age 50. If you're at higher risk (due to family history, lifestyle or other factors), you may need to start regular screenings at an earlier age. If you're older than 75, ask your doctor if you should continue to be screened. The best time to get screened is before you have any symptoms.

Tests that find pre-cancer and cancer:

  • Colonoscopy - Every 10 years
  • Virtual colonoscopy - Every 5 years
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy - Every 5 years
  • Double-contrast barium enema - Every 5 years

Tests that mainly find cancer:

  • Stool occult blood test (FOBT) - Every year
  • Stool immunochemical test (FIT) - Every year
  • Stool DNA test (sDNA) - Ask your health care professional because technology is evolving.

Early stages of colorectal cancer don't usually have symptoms, so stay on top of your scheduled screenings. Affinity's gastroenterologists perform all colorectal cancer screenings and you can make an appointment with us today. The chances of beating colorectal cancer when finding it in Stage 1 are 74%. Know the facts and stay healthy!