Colorectal Cancer

Basic Facts on Screening

What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal Cancer Can Start With No Symptoms
It's the Second Leading Cancer Killer
What are the Symptoms?
Who Gets Colorectal Cancer?
Types of Screening Tests
Are You at High Risk?
Will Insurance or Medicare Pay for Screening Tests?
Screening Saves Lives
The Bottom Line

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. Sometimes it is call colon colon and rectumcancer for short. As the drawing shows, the colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus.

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It's the Second Leading Cancer Killer

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn't have to be. If everyone age 50 or older had regular screening tests, at least one-third of deaths from this cancer could be avoided. So, if you are 50 or older, start screening now.

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Who Gets Colorectal Cancer?

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Are You at High Risk?

Your risk for colorectal cancer may be higher than average if:

People at high risk for colorectal cancer may need earlier or more frequent tests than other people. Talk to your doctor about when you should begin screening and how often you should be tested.

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Screening Saves Lives

If you are 50 or older, getting a screening test for colorectal cancer could save your life. Here's how:colon polyp

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Colorectal Cancer Can Start With No Symptoms

People who have polyps or colorectal cancer sometimes don't have symptoms, especially at first. This means that someone could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. This is why having a screening test is so important.

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What are the Symptoms?

Some people with colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer do have symptoms. They may include:

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. These symptoms may also be caused by something other than cancer. However, the only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.

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Types of Screening Tests

There are several different screening tests that can be used to find polyps or colorectal cancer. Each one can be used alone. Sometimes they are used in combination with each other. Talk to you doctor about which tests or tests are right for you and how often you should be tested.

Colonoscopy may also be used as a follow-up test if anything unusual is found during one of the other screening tests.

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Will Insurance or Medicare Pay for Screening Tests?

Many insurance plans and Medicare help pay for colorectal cancer screening tests. Check with your plan to find out which tests are covered for you. To find out about Medicare coverage, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

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The Bottom Line

If you are 50 or older, talk with your doctor about getting screened or contact Miranda LeCompte, RN at 410-901-8129 at Dorchester County Health Department.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/cancer/ScreenForLife or call the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service: 1-800-4-CANCER. For TTY call 1-800-332-8615.

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