Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects people in all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people age 50 and older.
The good news? If everyone age 50 and older were screened regularly, 6 out of 10 deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented.
What You Can Do
• If you’re aged 50 to 75, get screened for colorectal cancer regularly. If you’re between 76 and 85, ask your doctor if you should be screened.
• Be physically active.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Don’t drink too much alcohol.
• Don’t smoke.
• Risk increases with age. More than 90% of colorectal cancers occur in people aged 50 and older.
• Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first.
• You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is so important. If you have symptoms, they may include—
• Blood in or on the stool (bowel movement).
• Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away.
• Losing weight and you don’t know why.
• These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you have any of them, see your doctor.
• Some people are at a higher risk than others for developing colorectal cancer. If you think you may be at increased risk, talk to your doctor about when to begin screening, which test is right for you, and how often to get tested.