Quick Facts Colorectal Cancer

What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is a disease that starts in the colon or the rectum. Other names include colon, rectal or colorectal cancers – depending on its exact location. This disease is sometimes caused by abnormal tissue growths called polyps. Also, colorectal cancer is curable when detected early.

What are some of the symptoms of colorectal cancer?

  • Blood in the stool
  • Lump in the abdomen
  • Cramps or pain in the abdomen
  • Change in stool size (e.g. thin like a ribbon) or constipation

Who should be screened for colorectal cancer?

  • The American Cancer Society recommends screening for colorectal cancer starting at age 45 years and continuing through the age of 75.
  • Anyone 45 years of age and younger who:
    • Had colorectal cancer, adenomatous polyps, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s colitis), or cancer of the ovary or uterus
    • Has a mother, father, brother, sister or child who had colorectal cancer or certain adenomatous polyps before age 50
    • Has a family history of genetic forms of colorectal cancer or polyps

What are the colorectal cancer rates in Maryland?

The American Cancer Society estimates 2,620 diagnosed cases of colorectal cancer with about 880 related deaths in 2019.

Are most colorectal cancers preventable or curable?

Some polyps grow and may become cancerous. However, when they are removed early during a colonoscopy, most colorectal cancers can be prevented or cured.

What can people do to help prevent colorectal cancer

Be proactive. There are several tests that can help diagnose colorectal cancer, but experts agree that a colonoscopy is the benchmark for early detection and prevention. During a colonoscopy, a doctor looks for colon polyps and removes them. Since polyps can take many years to develop into cancer, removing them at an early stage decreases the likelihood of the disease.

Modify your diet. Although you cannot completely eliminate the risk of getting colorectal cancer, certain lifestyle changes such as eating a high-fiber diet and regularly exercising have been shown to reduce the incidence of polyps.

Don’t delay. Schedule your colonoscopy appointment today.

How does Doctors Community Hospital help people who should be screened for colorectal cancer?

Our Cancer Prevention Education Screening and Treatment (CPEST) program provides life-saving cancer screenings at no cost to low income and uninsured Prince George’s County residents. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 301-324-4968 or 301-552-7705.