Understanding Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a type of cancer that begins in the colon or rectum, crucial parts of the digestive system responsible for breaking down food. When cells in these areas start to grow out of control, it leads to colorectal cancer. 

Did you know that colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and the second deadliest? That’s why it’s essential to know the signs, symptoms, and preventive measures. 

Spotting Colorectal Cancer 

Colorectal cancer often develops without noticeable symptoms, making it hard to detect early on. However, when symptoms do appear, they may include: 

  • Rectal bleeding 
  • This may show as bright red blood in the stool or stools that are very dark or brick red. 
  • Changing bowel habits 
  • Look out for diarrhea and/or constipation, changes in stool consistency, or stools that are narrower than usual. 
  • Abdominal discomfort 
  • Experiencing cramps, gas, or pain often is alarming, as well as consistent feelings of fullness, bloating, or incomplete bowel emptying. Nausea and vomiting may occur as well. 
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • If you’re losing weight without a known reason, talk to your doctor. Nausea and/or vomiting may accompany unexplained weight loss. 

Acting Against Colorectal Cancer 

Early detection of colorectal cancer saves lives. If not caught early, treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and more, which all come with potential side effects. 

Routine screening starting at age 45 can help detect colorectal cancer early, even before symptoms appear. At Henry J. Austin Health Center (HJAHC), we offer free at home ColoFIT screenings to help keep you safe.  

See how easy it is to complete your kit here: https://www.labcorp.com/cancer/colorectal/patients 

Know Your Risk Factors 

Understanding your risk factors is important. Risk factors include: 

  • Family history 
  • Unhealthy diet 
  • Lack of exercise 
  • Smoking 
  • Heavy alcohol use 

HJAHC is committed to promoting colorectal cancer awareness and prevention. Remember, we offer FREE ColoFit screening kits to detect colorectal cancer early. Schedule a preventive care appointment today to talk to your provider about getting your kit. Call 609-278-5900 – we’re here to support you in staying healthy. 

Source: https://colorectalcancer.org/basics-what-colorectal-cancer 

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