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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
Blog: Get tested for colorectal cancer
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Rae-Ann Tucker-Marshall
Henry-Stark Health Department
June 24, 2013 10 a.m.

Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United

States. And yet, this need not be the case. Studies show if everyone age 50

or older had regular screening tests, at least one-third of deaths from this

cancer could be avoided.

To better inform the public about this deadly disease the staff of the

Henry and Stark County Health Department offers the following facts on

Colorectal Cancer. Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or

rectum. Sometimes it is called colon cancer, for short.

Who gets Colorectal Cancer? Both men and women can get colorectal

cancer. Colorectal cancer is most often found in people 50 and older.

Therefore, the risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age.

Are you at High Risk? Your risk of colorectal cancer may be higher than

average if: You or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or

colorectal cancer. You have inflammatory bowel disease. People at high

risk for colorectal cancer may need earlier or more frequent tests than

other people. Talk with your doctor about when you should begin screening

and how often you should be tested.

If you're 50 or older, getting a screening test for colorectal cancer

could save your life. Here's how:

* Colorectal cancer usually starts from polyps in the colon or rectum. A

polyp is a growth that shouldn't be there.

* Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer.

* Screening tests can find polyps, so they can be removed before they turn

into cancer.

* Screening tests can also find colorectal cancer early. When it is found

early, the chance of being cured is good.

People who have polyps or colorectal cancer sometimes don't have

symptoms, especially at first. This means that someone could have polyps or

colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is

so important.

Some people with colorectal polyps or cancer do have symptoms. They

may include:

* Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement).

* Pain, aches, or cramps in your stomach that happen a lot and you don't

know why.

* A change in bowel habits, such as having stools that are narrower than

usual.

* Losing weight and you don't know why.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor or healthcare

provider. These symptoms may also be caused by something other than cancer.

However, the only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.

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