Most people may not know that colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the second leading cause in New York State. The American Cancer Society has predicted that in 2018 alone, there will be 140,000 new cases diagnosed and about 50,000 deaths from the disease. This means that there are a large number of people who are not being screened early enough. You can reduce your risk of getting colorectal cancer by reducing risk factors.
Here are 5 things to know about colorectal cancer:
- Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer and cancer-related deaths in both men and women.
- A person’s risk of getting colon cancer increases with age. It also increases based on certain underlying conditions, such as adenomatous polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, or a family history of colon cancer.
- Over the past few decades, the overall death rate from colon cancer has been dropping, but there has been a sharp rise in colorectal cancer rate and deaths in younger population. It is important to talk to your doctor, no matter what your age is, if you have any underlying conditions.
- Colon cancer is linked to certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking, obesity, drinking alcohol, and lack of physical activity. In order for people to reduce their risk factors, it is important for people to be mindful of their lifestyles.
- Colon cancer is preventable through screenings. It is important to have routine screenings, as symptoms don’t always present themselves. Colonoscopies are the gold standard, but there are other options available, such as an at-home FIT or FOBT test.
Staten Island has a free program for those without insurance called the Cancer Services Program. This program, funded through the City Council, is available at both Staten Island hospitals and provides free colonoscopies. You can get more information by calling 718-226-6447.
Talk with your doctor or a health professional if you have any concerns and remember to get screened.