March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

What is Colorectal Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, most colorectal cancers start as a growth on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. These growths are called polyps. Some types of polyps can change into cancer over time (usually many years), but not all polyps become cancer. The chance of a polyp turning into cancer depends on the type of polyp it is. Colon cancer often has no symptoms.​ However, rectal bleeding can be a warning sign and should never be ignored. Notify your physician so that a detailed medical history, X-ray and possibly endoscopic evaluation may be done to make a diagnosis.

Risk Factors

  • Being overwieght or obese;
  • Not being physically active;
  • Certain types of diets:
    • Diet high in red meats;
    • Cooking meats at high temperature, like frying, broiling, or grilling;
  • Smoking and;
  • Alcohol use.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Guideline for Men and Women at Average Risk

Preventive screenings are covered at 100% in accordance with the Affordable Care Act through all State of Illinois health plans.

  • Ages 45 to 75: Get screened. Several types of tests can be used. Talk to your doctor about which option is best for you.
  • Ages 76 to 85: Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue screening. When deciding, consider your own preferences, overall health, and past screening history.
  • Age 85+: People should no longer get colorectal cancer screening.

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