Tags: Health Topics | colorectal cancer | warning signs

The 7 Warning Signs of Colorectal Cancer

The 7 Warning Signs of Colorectal Cancer
Dr. Seth Kaufer, Gastroenterologist (left) talks with people inside a giant inflatable colon, at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, Tuesday March 3, 2020, in Plains, Pa., during a Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center program in recognition of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. (Mark Moran/The Citizens' Voice via AP

By    |   Monday, 12 April 2021 11:34 AM

Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death among men and women.  But according to the American Cancer Society, many cases of colorectal cancer can be caught and cured if detected early. If all adults 45 years and older were screened for the disease regularly, thousands of deaths would be spared. Overall, 91% of those who catch this very common form of cancer early and at a local stage, have a five-year survival rate.

While anyone at any age can get colorectal cancer, people who have a personal or family history of the disease or have polyps, inflammatory bowel disease or type 2 diabetes, and African Americans are at increased risk. The ACS estimates that there will be 104,270 new cases of colon cancer and 45,230 new cases of rectal cancer in the United Sates in 2021.

While the number of older adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer has been declining thanks screening procedures, more young people are being diagnosed with the disease. Men are slightly more at risk for getting colorectal cancer than women, according to ACS data.

"We're most concerned about the rising numbers of both cases and deaths among people younger than 50," said Dr. David Liska, a colon and rectal surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio, who is affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic. That’s why the United States Preventive Services Task Force recently updated its guidelines to recommend that people start getting screened at the age of 45, says AARP.

While colorectal cancer is often a "silent" disease, with no symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage, there are red flags that you should watch out for, says Dr. Scott Kopetz, M.D., of the department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at the University if Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

According to the Mayo Clinic and AARP, here are the 7 signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer::

  • A persistent or unusual difference in bowel habits, including constipation, diarrhea, or a change in the consistency of your stool.
  • Bleeding from the rectum or red blood in the stool.
  • Dark brown or black stool which could indicate blood.
  • Constant abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas, or pain.
  • Unusual and unexplained weakness and fatigue.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • An urge to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by having one.

Experts say that if you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss colon cancer screening.

The ACS says that changing your diet to include more fruits, vegetables, and grains, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and cultivating good lifestyle habits such as drinking in moderation, if at all and not smoking can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.

Click here for five foods that can reduce your risk of this deadly disease.

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Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death among men and women.  But according to the American Cancer Society, many cases of colorectal cancer can be caught...
colorectal cancer, warning signs
Monday, 12 April 2021 11:34 AM
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