Detection And Prevention

Because colon and rectal cancers are so similar, they are often called colorectal cancer. Finding colorectal cancer early, when it’s most treatable, is your best defense against the disease. You can also make lifestyle choices to lower your risk of colorectal cancer. Find out if you’re at risk and what you can do.

Who Is At Risk For Colorectal Cancer? 

There are several risk factors that make it more likely for certain groups of people to get colorectal cancer. Some you can’t control, like having a personal or family history of polyps or colorectal cancer. Being over age 50, African-American, or male also increases your risk. Having ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or type 2 diabetes are additional risk factors for colorectal cancer.

These factors don’t always cause cancer. If you want to improve your odds of preventing cancer, however, you can make lifestyle choices for a healthier colon and rectum.

Work To Lower Your Risk

You can lower your risk of getting cancer with these healthy choices:

  • Limit alcohol consumption to one drink a day or less
  • Exercise at least 150 minutes a week
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Don’t smoke
  • Ask your doctor about calcium supplements, which may lower your risk

Colorectal Cancer Screenings

To identify cancer at an early, more treatable stage, we offer you screenings for colon and rectal cancer. Adults of average risk who are between 50 and 75 years of age should follow ONE of the screening options below after consulting with your health care provider:

  • Colonoscopy once every 10 years. This test is currently recommended as the preferred screening test to prevent and find colorectal cancer at an earlier stage.

  • Virtual colonoscopy every five years. However, a regular colonoscopy will be performed if polyps are found. Check with your insurance provider to see if this exam is covered before scheduling.

Fecal immunochemical test (FIT),a stool-based test (currently recommended as the preferred hidden blood screening test based on cost, specificity and sensitivity) every year.

  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT), also a stool-based test for hidden blood, every year.

In addition to regular screenings, be aware of your body. If you notice changes such as bleeding or unusual bowel movements, report them to your doctor immediately, as they can be indications of colorectal cancer or other issues.

Some adults are at increased or high risk of colorectal cancer due to personal or family history of polyps or colorectal cancer or other conditions, such as chronic ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. This may mean you should start screening at an earlier age or get screened more often. Talk to your doctor to determine if you are at high risk.

Contact Us

Our cancer team is here for you. Our cancer specialists have access to nationally recognized cancer care protocols and best practices, since Premier Health is a certified member of MD Anderson Cancer Network®, a program of MD Anderson Cancer Center. Our patients benefit from advanced local care backed by the world-renowned expertise of the nation’s leading cancer center. 

Call the Premier Health cancer hotline at (844) 316-HOPE(844) 316-4673 (4673), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to connect with a Premier Health cancer navigator.