National Colorectal (Colon) Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know?: The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 22 men and 1 in 24 women will develop colorectal (colon) cancer in their lifetime. It is the fourth most common cancer in the USA. There are roughly one million Americans currently living with colon cancer. Colon cancer has few symptoms when it is developing in your body, and it can be caught early with regular screenings.

What: Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), which is the final part of your digestive tract. Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Although, over time some of these polyps can become colon cancers. Polyps are very small and few symptoms are noticed. Doctors will recommend regular screening tests to help prevent colon cancer by removing polyps before they turn into cancer.

American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) Screening Guidelines:

  • For people at average risk of getting colorectal cancer, a digital rectal examination and fecal occult blood test, which screens for hidden blood in the stool, are recommended annually beginning at age 50. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy (a test that allows the physician to look directly at the lining of the lower colon and rectum) is recommended every 5 years at age 50 or older.
  • A colonoscopy (a test that allows the physician to look directly at the lining of the entire colon and rectum) every 10 years or a barium enema (x-ray of the colon) every 5 to 10 years are acceptable alternatives.
  • People at increased risk for colorectal cancer include those with a personal or family history of colorectal polyps or cancer, those with a personal history of breast, uterine or ovarian cancer, and those with chronic ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
  • Increased risk patients may need earlier and more frequent screening depending upon the recommendation of their healthcare provider.

Prevention Tips: In addition to regular screenings for colon cancer, people may be able to lower their risk of getting the disease by:

  • Avoid foods high in fat
  • Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and other high-fiber foods
  • Exercise regularly and maintaining a normal body weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Remind your doctor of regular colon cancer screenings
  • Know your family history and talk to your doctor

For more information on colorectal cancer screening, prevention, and treatment call FCP Health and Wellness Center at 715-478-4300 to talk to your provider TODAY. Also, if you have gotten your colon cancer screening done, you can receive one FCP Tribal Wellvation point!