When it comes to colorectal screenings, we’re sharing some good news and bad news.
Good news first: 90 percent of colorectal cancer cases caught at an early stage have a positive outlook. But, here’s the bad news: Only half the people who should get screened make an appointment.
Most people don't want to talk about the possibility of cancer, but when there are effective screenings that can catch symptoms early, it's important to speak up. Recognizing the importance of getting lifesaving screenings is one of the first steps to reducing the number of deaths related to colorectal cancers.
Preventative screenings like these are covered for those on Mohawk’s insurance plan, so if you are 50 or older and have never had a screening, talk to your doctor about scheduling one. Here are the basics:
- With regular screening, colon cancer can be found early, when treatment is most effective
- Screenings can prevent colon cancer by finding and removing polyps before they become cancer
- By finding polyps and cancer in the earlier stages, it is easiest to treat. Improved treatment options have also contributed to a rise in survival rates.
The Risk Factors
- People age 50 and older
- Those who smoke, are overweight or obese, or aren't physically active
- People with personal or family histories of colorectal cancer, benign (not cancerous) colorectal polyps or inherited colorectal problems
- Anyone with personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease)
Factors You Can Change
Some factors can help lower your risk of developing colon cancer:
- Be physically active or increase physical activity
- Keep a healthy weight
- Don't smoke or drink alcohol in excess
- Inform your doctor of your family medical history, and receive recommended screenings
Getting screened is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer, because most cases of the disease are caught by a screening before they turn into cancer.
Don’t worry, getting screened does not have to be a negative experience. There are many types of colorectal screens that are completely non-invasive, meaning that they can be performed without having to be put under anesthesia. Ask your primary healthcare provider what screen is best for your situation.