Colorectal Cancer Screening and Prevention
Get screened for colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer doesn't always cause symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage. That's why regular screening is so important starting at age 50.
There are several different types of tests, including a colonoscopy screening as well as an at-home test called a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit. At Sharp, we use the latest colonoscopy techniques to minimize discomfort and detect cancer at its earliest stages.
How to reduce your risk of colon cancer
- A colonoscopy screening detects colorectal cancer early, when it's most treatable and curable
- Exercise, even minimal amounts of moderate exercise, reduces risk
- Include more vegetables, fruits and whole grains in your diet
- Minimize red meat and processed meat such as cold cuts, hot dogs or bacon
- Stop tobacco use; smokers are more likely to develop colorectal cancer than non-smokers
- Limit your alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women
- Maintain a healthy weight
Risk factors of colon cancer
- Most cases occur after age 50; while rarer in younger adults, occurrences are trending upward
- Personal or family history of colorectal cancer
- Diet high in red meat or processed meats
- Smoking and alcohol use
- Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
- Hereditary genetic syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis or Lynch syndrome
- African-Americans are 20% more likely to get colorectal cancer and 40% more likely to die from it than other races
Signs to watch out for
- A persistent change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
- Rectal bleeding
- Dark stools or blood in the stool
- Cramping or abdominal (stomach) pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unintended weight loss
Talk to your doctor.
If you're age 50 or older, talk to your doctor about your individual risk factors and what type of test is right for you. Remember, screening can save your life by detecting the disease early, and in some instances, can even head off cancer before it starts.
Safe to get care.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many people are choosing to skip regular health screenings, including for colon cancer. We want to assure you that your health and safety are our highest priority and extra safety precautions are in place to keep you, and our care teams, safe and healthy.
To set your mind at ease, we encourage you to talk to your doctor more about these safeguards.
6 Tips to Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Dr. Michael Lajin, board-certified gastroenterologist at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, explains 6 ways to prevent colorectal cancer.
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