March 22, 2022

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

image of colorectal cancer prevention - "45 is the new 50 for prevention

Colorectal cancer is cancer in your colon (large intestine) or rectum. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States, and often doesn’t have symptoms at the early stages.

The good news is that we have effective screening tests that can help detect cancer or pre-cancer early, when it is easier to treat or even prevent by removing polyps (small clumps of cells that can sometimes become cancer).

Everyone between the ages of 45 to 75 (younger if you have a family history of colorectal cancer) should have regular colorectal cancer screening. The two main screening tests we use at Heartland Health Centers are:

  • FIT Test: A yearly stool test you can do at home or in the clinic that looks for hidden blood in the stool-a possible sign of colon cancer. If this test is positive, it will require further testing.
  • Colonoscopy: A test using a camera, or scope, to view the inside of your colon. This test is usually done at a hospital and requires patients to prepare the night before. If the results are normal, this test is only required every 10 years.

Besides talking to your health care provider about screening tests, here are some things you can do to help prevent colorectal cancer:

  • Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
  • Get regular exercise
  • Avoid or reduce smoking
  • Avoid or reduce alcohol intake

Colorectal cancer screening is an important part of caring for your health, and Heartland Health Centers is here to help. Schedule an appointment with your provider today to talk about what screening test is best for you by calling 773-751-7800.

image credit: George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences