GENESEE COUNTY — Although it is not a popular topic of discussion among friends, co-workers or even family; colorectal cancer is something everyone should take seriously. Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 148, 610 new cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed in the U.S. this year.
Cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer, and cancer that begins in the rectum is called rectal cancer. Cancer that starts in either of these organs may also be called colorectal cancer.
One out of 18 people in this country will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime. Colorectal cancer is more common in people over 50, and the risk increases with age. Risk increases with the presence of:
Polyps — growths inside the colon and rectum that may become cancerous
A diet that is high in fat
A family history or personal history of colorectal cancer
Ulcerative Colitis or Chron’s Disease
Symptoms can include blood in the stool, narrower stools, a change in bowel habits and general stomach discomfort. However, you may not have symptoms at first, so screening is important. Everyone who is 50 or older should be screened for colorectal cancer.
Screening Tests Include:
yearly fecal occult blood test (stool sampling)
flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy every 5 years
Information obtained with permission from The National Institute of Health Website
McLaren Regional Medical Center began the free colorectal cancer screenings during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in 2004. Since then, over 2,000 area residents have taken advantage of the program. To request a free kit, call 1-866-696- GLCI or visit www.glci.com. — G.G