1) Not enough people get screened for colorectal cancer. Four out of 10 people who should be screened skip this potentially life-saving test. Colonoscopies are recommended for:

  • Everyone 50 and older.
  • Younger people who have had a first degree relative with onset of colorectal cancer at or before age 50. In these cases, the screening should take place at the age of onset for that relative minus 10 years. So, if your father developed colorectal cancer at age 45, you should start screening at age 35.

2) You can have colorectal cancer and not experience any symptoms. A sudden and consistent change in bowel movements and rectal pain and bleeding are the most common symptoms, but some people won't notice any changes until cancer is in a later stage.

3) Screening is important for various types of cancer, but especially colorectal cancer. During the screening, doctors can find and remove early polyps long before they become cancerous tumors. In fact, a small polyp could take 5-10 years to turn cancerous. This is what makes colorectal cancer extremely preventable—and preventive screening extremely important.

4) As with all cancers, the sooner colorectal cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances a person can live a longer life, with a better quality of life.

5) As with many other serious health conditions, people appear to be at a greater risk of developing colorectal cancer if they are obese, consume too much alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or don't exercise regularly.

6) Even in its later stages, advances in surgical techniques and new chemotherapy agents mean colorectal cancer is easier to treat than it was in decades past.

7) Worth discussing with your doctor, some studies have shown a reduced incidence of colon cancer in people who take a daily baby aspirin or the daily recommended doses of calcium and vitamin D.

8) In both men and women, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer. About 1 out of every 20 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer at some point in their lives.

9) For reasons that are not totally understood, men are more than likely than women to be diagnosed with and die from colorectal cancer. This does not mean women should be any less concerned about their risk, however.

10) At last count, there are approximately 30 million Americans that have not had a recommended colonoscopy. Find out if you’re one of them, and, if you are, call for an appointment today.

Call Virtua Health at 1-888-847-8823 to schedule a colonoscopy. Don’t put off this life-saving screening.