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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month


Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people ages 50 and older.

The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 50. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer – that’s why it’s so important to get screened.

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Who Is At Risk for Colorectal Cancer?

People over age 50 have the highest risk of colorectal cancer. You may also be at a higher risk if you are African American, have a history of colorectal polyps, are overweight, do not exercise,  smoke, drinking 3 or more alcohol beverages, have a history of ovarian cancer, or have a family history of colorectal cancer.

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Everyone can take these healthy steps to help prevent colorectal cancer:

  • Get screened starting at age 50.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Get plenty of physical activity and eat healthy.
How often should you or your loved one be tested?

How often you get screened will depend on your risk for colorectal cancer. It will also depend on which screening test is used.

There are different ways to test for colorectal cancer. Some tests are done every 1 to 2 years. Other tests are done every 5 to 10 years. Your doctor can help you decide which test is right for you and how often to get screened.

Most people can stop getting screened after age 75. Talk with your doctor about what’s right for you.


Image Source: Shutterstock/Eraxion


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