Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths for both women and men in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. Colorectal cancer occurs when tiny growths, or polyps, on the inner lining of the colon or rectum become cancerous. Each year more than 100,000 new cases of colon cancer are detected, with more than 52,000 deaths expected from the cancer in 2021.
Fortunately, the rate of colorectal cancer has declined since the mid-1980s, with much of that attributed to men and women getting early screenings and living healthier lifestyles. Colorectal cancer is highly preventable and, if detected early, one of the most curable forms of cancer, which is why it’s recommended to get routine colon cancer screenings.
When to Get a Colorectal Screening
A colorectal cancer screening should begin by age 50, especially for those with a family history of the illness. It is recommended to have a regular colorectal cancer screening through the age of 75. From age 76-85, the decision to be screened is made from a person’s individual preferences, overall health, and prior screening history.
Types of Colorectal Cancer Screenings
Various testing options are available for colorectal cancer detection, ranging from take-home kits to outpatient procedures. Two of the most common diagnostic screenings include:
Colorectal cancer screening kit—This stool-based test can be done in the comfort of home, returning your test to your physician’s office or lab for diagnostic review.
Colonoscopy—As a more thorough testing measure, this screening looks at the entire length of the colon and rectum through a colonoscope, a flexible tube with a lighted, small video camera at the end. This diagnostic test is often completed in an outpatient setting for comfort and accuracy and is used as a baseline to compare results with future colorectal cancer screenings.
Most health insurance covers the cost of these screenings, as they are considered to be preventative services.
Register for a Free Colorectal Cancer Screening in March
During Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, the RMC Foundation is offering a free colorectal screening kit to individuals age 50 and up who have not had a colonoscopy within the past year or who have a family history of colorectal cancer.
RMC Health System is fully accredited by the Commission on Cancer and takes a comprehensive approach to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. As an associate of the UAB Health System Cancer Community Network, RMC gives patients access to the latest discoveries and top expertise in cancer care close to home.
Learn More About Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment
For a complete program including preventative measures you can follow now, contact our cancer care physicians and treatment teams for compassionate, patient-centered cancer care.