Did you know that colorectal cancer, the second leading cancer killer in the United States, may be prevented through regular screening? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports if everyone aged 50 or older had regular screening tests, at least 60% of deaths from this cancer could be avoided. Screening tests can find pre-cancerous polyps which can then be removed before they turn into cancer. Although colorectal cancer is preventable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as of 2013, one in three adults (about 23 million) aged 50 and 75 were not up-to-date with their recommended colorectal cancer screening. Don’t wait, being screened for colorectal cancer could save your life! If you do not have health insurance, the Onondaga County Cancer Services Program offers free colorectal cancer screening for the uninsured.
Individuals at increased risk should talk to their doctor about when and how often they should be screened. A person’s chance of developing colorectal cancer is increased by certain factors such as having a family history of colorectal cancer, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, or having had polyps or colorectal cancer in the past.
Colorectal cancer is typically diagnosed in men and women aged 50 and older. Appropriately, the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends colorectal cancer screening for average risk men and women aged 50-75 using high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy. There are often no symptoms during the early stages of colorectal cancer, making routine screening extremely important. If symptoms do appear, they may include rectal bleeding, black tarry stools, a change in bowel habits, persistent abdominal pain or cramping, and unexplained weight loss.
Don’t forget: Free colorectal cancer screening is available through the Onondaga County Cancer Services Program (CSP) for men and women aged 50 to 64 who do not have health insurance! Call 435-3653 today to register or register online by visiting the CSP website at http://www.ongov.net/health/cancerscreening.html.
This article and the image were provided by Daniella Palermo, originally from Bronx, NY, is currently a fourth year medical student at SUNY Upstate Medical University. She is the co-founder and current president of SUNY Upstate’s Latino Medical Student Association, a national organization whose mission is to educate and advocate for the health needs of the Latino community. LMSA members, including herself, are looking forward to continuing to contribute to CNY Latino and raising awareness regarding the many health issues affecting the Latinos of Central NY and beyond.
This article was written by Emily Young, Public Health Educator and translated to Spanish by Daniella Palermo
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Colorectal Cancer. 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/cancerscreening/.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer. 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/basic_info/symptoms.htm.
3. American Cancer Society. Signs and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer. 2012. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/colonandrectumcancer/detailedguide/colorectal-cancer-diagnosed.