Colorectal Cancer FAQs
What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer, is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. The colon is the large intestine or large bowel, and the rectum connects the colon to the anus. Colorectal cancer impacts both men and women and is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. If everybody age 50 or older had regular screening tests, at least one-third of deaths from this cancer could be avoided. So if you are 50 to 75, get screened.
What are the Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?
People who have polyps or colorectal cancer sometimes do not have symptoms, especially at first. This means that someone could have colorectal polyps or cancer and not know it. However, some people with colorectal polyps or cancer do have symptoms. These symptoms may include:
- Blood in your stool
- Pain, aches, or cramps in your stomach that don’t go away.
- Losing weight and you don’t know why.
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor, but there is the chance that these symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer.
What are the Tests that Screen for Colorectal Cancer?
There are several different screening tests that can be used to find colorectal polyps or cancer. These tests include fecal occult blood tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and double contrast barium enemas. Talk to your doctor about which test(s) are right for you and how often you should be screened.