March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Colorectal cancer, or CRC, is the second deadliest cancer in the US. Every March, National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month spotlights this disease and inspires more people to get screened for CRC, starting at age 45.
According to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, CRC is highly preventable with screening, and it’s highly treatable when caught early. However, one in 24 people will be diagnosed with CRC in their lifetime. A lack of knowledge about CRC prevention and limited access to screening has a lot to do with it, and a third of people who should be getting checked are not.
Risk factors for colorectal cancer
While anyone can develop colorectal cancer, according to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, a few things can increase your risk:
• Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
• A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps
• A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome)
• Black/African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews are at higher risk
Two reasons why getting checked matters:
• Screenings can find the warning signs of colon and rectal cancer, letting your provider know it is time to take action to prevent the disease.
• Screening can also find colorectal cancer early when treatment is most effective. CRC is 90% survivable when treated at its early stages.
Learn more about colorectal cancer
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, colorectal cancer screenings dropped roughly 90% and diagnoses fell by 32%. If you are over the age of 45, consider talking to your provider about getting a screening. To learn more about screening, symptoms, and raising awareness about CRC, visit www.ccalliance.org.