Who Gets Colon Cancer?

Who Gets Colon Cancer?


March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and all the physicians at Colon and Rectal Specialists are dedicated to raising awareness and educating the community about the importance of screenings to prevent colon cancer.

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer deaths taking more than 50,000 American lives each year.  But it doesn't have to be.  Colon cancer is very preventable and routine screening can stop it before it even starts.

Who Gets Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups.  It is most often found in people 50 years or older, but can occur at any age. In fact, recent research shows colon cancer rates increasing for those younger than 50 - some even being diagnosed in their 20s and 30s.

While everyone over the age of 50 should be screened, those with a family history of colon cancer or with certain health issues, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, are often screened earlier.

If colon cancer runs in a family we recommend screenings begin 10 years before the family member was diagnosed.  For example, if your mother was diagnosed at age 55 we suggest you begin screenings at age 45.

What Is the Importance of Colonoscopy Screening?

Colon cancer can take years to develop and often starts as a small polyp on the lining of the colon or rectum.  During routine screenings, like a colonoscopy, polyps can be identified and removed before they have a chance to turn into cancer.

In many cases polyps produce no symptoms and are only found during a colonoscopy or x-ray of the bowel. Finding and removing polyps early is a critical step in preventing colon cancer.

If cancer is present, the earlier it is detected and managed, the greater chance of survival.

Although colon cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, when caught early and treated the survival rate is close to 90%.

What Can You Do?

  • Educate yourself about the risk factors and facts about colon cancer
  • Know your family health history
  • Ask your doctor when is the right time to begin colon cancer screenings
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about colon cancer with other people
  • Don’t avoid a colonoscopy because you think it might be unpleasant – it really isn’t that bad and it could save your life

See CRSpecialists.com for more information.