According to the Maine Cancer Consortium, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of both new cancer cases and cancer deaths in Maine.
Click here for more Maine colorectal cancer facts.
What Is Colorectal Cancer?
Also called colon cancer or cancer of the bowel. Cancerous cells grow in the colon, rectum, and appendix.
- Alcohol consumption
- Poor nutrition
- Physical inactivity
- Personal or family history of colorectal cancer and/or polyps
- Blood in the stool
- Change in bowel habits that last more than a few days, such as diarrhea, constipation or narrowing of the stool
- Unintended weight loss
- Feeling as if the bowel doesn’t completely empty
- Cramping and abdominal (belly) pain
- Fatigue and weakness
It’s All About Screening!
Routine screening and early diagnostics can reduce the number of people who die of colorectal cancer by as much as 60% or more.
Your doctor may recommend that you be tested earlier based on:
· Family history of colon cancer
· History of polyps (benign, or non-cancerous mushroom like growths in the bowel which can become cancerous)
· Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
· Hereditary colon cancer syndrome
· Fecal occult blood test (a tool to detect if there is hidden blood in the stool)
· Flexible sigmoidoscopy
o An effective tool that looks at the lowest part of the colon to determine the possible cause of diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and to detect early signs of cancer including benign (non-cancerous) polyps and malignant (cancerous) polyps.
o Doctors use a camera to look inside the entire colon to detect early signs of cancer and polyps
Speak to your doctor to learn more about how to protect yourself.