March is colorectal cancer awareness month. Lincoln Community Health Center wants residents to know that early screening can save lives. Insurance covers screening for those 50 or over, but data suggests that screening earlier may be necessary in some cases.
The most recent data, from 2012–2016, shows that in Lincoln County there were 133 new cases of colorectal cancer. Over those years, there were 58 people who died of colorectal cancer. It is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be.
Colorectal cancer doesn’t always cause symptoms, especially early on. Most often, colorectal cancer occurs in people with no family history. Screening helps find precancerous polyps so they can be removed — remove the polyp, prevent the cancer. Screening helps find colorectal cancer early, too, when treatment works best.
Your risk for colorectal cancer may be higher than average if:
You or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
You have inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
You have a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer.
If you are 50 or older, talk to your doctor or contact Lincoln Community Health Center to ask about screening. Screening can be done initially at home using a stool test, or in a specialist’s office using a colonoscopy.
For more information on colorectal cancer, go to cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal, contact your doctor or call the Lincoln Community Health Center at 541-265-4947.