March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer of both men and women in the United States. Lifestyle factors that may increase your risk of getting colorectal cancer include:

  • Lack of regular exercise
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • A low-fiber and high-fat diet
  • Being overweight
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Tobacco use

Living a healthy lifestyle can help lower your risk of colorectal cancer. But regular screening is also important. Testing can often find colon cancer early, when it’s most treatable.

Ninety percent of colon cancer begins when polyps become cancerous. A polyp is a small growth that attaches itself to the inner wall of the colon. Anyone can get colon polyps, but certain people are more likely to get them than others. You may have a greater chance of getting polyps if:

  • you're 50 years of age or older
  • you've had polyps before
  • someone in your family has had polyps
  • someone in your family has had cancer of the large intestine, also called colon cancer
  • you've had uterine or ovarian cancer before age 50

The fecal occult blood test (FOBTis used as a screening tool to check for early colon cancer. Blood in the stool may be the only signs of early cancer.  And, if found early, treatment can start right away, improving the chance of a cure.

Four Corners Health Department encourages you to get screened for colon cancer. This simple test can be done in the comfort and privacy of your own home. FOBT test kits are available for people age 50 – 74 years at no charge from Four Corners Health Department. During the month of March, you can also pick up a FOBT kit at Walgreens in York, Surgical Associates in York, and Pac-n-Save in Seward, if you fall within those ages. If you think you may be at a higher than average risk for colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about getting screened earlier. If you are over the age of 75 and feel you need to be screened, contact your doctor.

Colon cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable! 

If you have questions or need more information, please contact Four Corners Health Department @ 1-877-337-3573 or inquire at: info@fourcorners.ne.gov.