Colorectal Cancer: Are You At Risk?

By Pam Gennings, Executive Director Special Projects

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in America. The National Cancer Institute estimates nearly 97,000 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer and 40,000 with rectal cancer this year alone. The Institute also estimates that over 50,000 people will die from colon and rectal cancer this year as well.

To help you calculate your risk for Colorectal Cancer, the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health has developed a Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment Tool for people over the age of 50.  All you have to do is answer 15 questions about your health history. It only takes between five and eight minutes to complete. It is important to discuss your results with your primary health care provider so you and your doctor can determine what screening tests you should take to detect signs of cancer before symptoms appear.

Everyone should be screened for Colorectal Cancer by the age of 50 unless you have risk factors that indicate screenings at a younger age. Screenings can detect Colorectal Cancer early when treatments are most effective. Waiting for symptoms to occur is NOT a screening option. Maybe you are squeamish about the screening tests or perhaps a little “grossed” out and that has kept you from getting screened. Click here to hear from real people who had various screening tests done and to learn more about Colorectal Cancer from the National Cancer Institute.