Colorectal Cancer Can Be Preventable
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death. A colorectal screening can prevent and identify this cancer early at its most treatable stages.
Sanford Health recommends colorectal cancer screenings for all adults ages 45 to 75. Talk with your primary care provider about which screening options are best for you.
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What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer begins in the colon or rectum. Most colorectal cancers start as a growth on the inner wall of the colon called a polyp. Not all polyps become cancerous, but some do.
Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer. That’s why screenings are so important – they can catch cancer early when it’s most treatable.
Some screenings can even help prevent colorectal cancer from developing. During a colonoscopy, colorectal specialists find and remove abnormal polyps before they can become cancerous.
Risk factors include:
- Age (45 or older)
- Ethnicity (Black, American Indian or Alaskan Native)
- Family history of colorectal cancer
- Sex (males are at a higher risk)
- Long-term smoking
- Unhealthy alcohol use
Why Get Screened?
People sometimes delay getting screened because they’re concerned about time, cost, embarrassment or a lack of symptoms. But people can still develop colorectal cancer even without a family history, symptoms or other risk factors.
Catching colorectal cancer as soon as possible makes a big difference. When it’s detected early through a colonoscopy or other screening, the five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer is about 90%.
Learn more about colonoscopies.