Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people ages 50 and older.
The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 50. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer – that’s why it’s so important to get screened.
To increase awareness about the importance of colorectal cancer screening, North Sound Family Medicine is proudly participating in Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout March, they are making a special effort to identify patients who are due for screening tests and encouraging them to take one.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends one of the following screening methods for all patients age 50-75. Your doctor may recommend earlier testing if you have a family history of colon cancer, or are at high risk and between the ages of 76-85. There is not one “best test” for every patient. If you have questions about these options, your doctor can help you decide which test to use.
- FIT Test (stool test) — This test, which looks for unseen blood in the stool, is recommended yearly. Polyps bleed more than normal tissue and these tiny amounts of blood can be detected using the FIT test.
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy — This is an exam of the lower section of the colon and rectum, where most polyps and cancers are located. This test is recommended every five years.
- Colonoscopy — This is an exam of the entire colon and rectum that is recommended every five to 10 years or when the fecal occult blood test or sigmoidoscopy is positive.
Everyone can take these healthy steps to help prevent colorectal cancer:
- Get screened starting at age 50.
- Encourage your family members and friends over age 50 to get screened.
- Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
- Get plenty of physical activity and eat healthy.
For more information, talk to your health care team at North Sound Family Medicine or visit the Colorectal Cancer Awareness website: https://www.ccalliance.org/get-screened/.