Colorectal Cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the very end of the large intestines, in a part known as the colon, and extends into the rectum.
It typically starts as small, noncancerous clumps of cells called polyps that form on the inside of the colon. Over time some of these polyps can become cancerous.
Your risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you get older. Other risk factors include having:
- Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps
Lifestyle factors that can also contribute to an increased risk of colorectal cancer include:
- Lack of regular exercise
- A diet low in fruit and vegetables
- A low-fiber and high-fat diet
- A diet high in processed meats
- Overweight or obesity
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Tobacco use
Colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. Someone may have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why getting screened regularly for colorectal cancer is so important.
If you have symptoms, they could include:
- A change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea)
- Blood in or on your stool
- Abdominal pain, aches or cramps that don’t go away
- Unexplained weight loss
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your primary care physician. Guidelines recommend that colon cancer screenings begin around age 45. Your physician may recommend more frequent or earlier screening if you have other risk factors, such as a family history of the disease.
Free Screening Kits
Cancer Center at Wise Health System offers *FREE* Take-Home Colorectal Screening kits. Pick up yours today!