Colorectal cancer is cancer of the lower part of the digestive system (the colon or large intestine and rectum). Most colorectal cancer starts as small noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called polyps.
What is a polyp?
A polyp is a benign growth, over time polyps can change to cancer. A polyp begins in the colon or rectal lining and often bleeds when stool passes through.
What are the Signs of Colon Cancer?
- There may be no symptoms
- Rectal Bleeding
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Weakness or Fatigue
- Change in diarrhea or constipation
- Persistent abdominal discomfort
- A feeling that your bowel does not completely empty
Who Should Be Screened for Colorectal Cancer?
Adults ages 50-75. Colorectal cancer occurs most often in people aged 50 or older. The risk increases with age. Both men and women can get colorectal cancer. If you are 50 or older, talk to your doctor about getting screened.
Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors
- Family History of Colorectal Cancer
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Genetic syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer
- Commercial tobacco use
- Poor Diet & lack of Physical Activity
- Sun & UV Exposure
- Radiation Exposure
American Indians and Colorectal Cancer
- 3rd most common cancer for Great Plains American Indians.
- Occurs more often in Great Plains American Indian tribes than in non-Hispanic whites & American Indians in other regions of the U.S. except for Alaskan Natives.
- Most likely to affect American Indian men and women over the age of 50.
Screening Saves Lives
Screening can find polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening can also find colorectal cancer early when the chances of being cured are best. These screenings include FOBT, FIT, Sensitive Guaiac, Sigmoidoscopy, and Colonoscopy.
The program assesses participation in colorectal cancer risk assessment for colon cancer and promotes the career development of individuals who have historically been underrepresented in cancer screening and prevention research.