March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal Cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States.

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer means that cells that aren’t normal are growing in your colon or rectum. These cells grow together and form polyps. Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer.

This cancer is also called colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where the cancer is. And it occurs most often in people older than 50.

Get the Facts.

  • The lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about 1 in 23 for men and women combined but varies widely according to individual risk factors.
  • About 71% of cases arise in the colon and about 29% in the rectum.
  • The proportion of cases diagnosed in individuals younger than age 50 increased from 6% in 1990 to 11% in 2013.
  • Most of these cases (72%) occur in people who are in their 40s.

Take Action.

  • Talk to your doctor immediately, regardless of your age or family history, if you are experiencing symptoms such as pain, blood, or other irregularities.
  • All men and women should be screened for colorectal cancer.
  • Adults without a family history should begin colorectal cancer screening at age 45.
  • If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, get screened at age 40 or 10 years before the age of the youngest case in your immediate family.


Colorectal cancer usually doesn’t cause symptoms until after it has started to spread. See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Pain in your belly
  • Blood in your stool or very dark stools
  • A change in your bowel habits, such as more frequent stools or a feeling that your bowels are not emptying completely


Screening tests can find or prevent many cases of colon and rectal cancer. They look for a certain disease or condition before any symptoms appear. Some experts say that adults should start regular screening at age 50 and stop at age 75. Others say to start before age 50 or continue after age 75. Talk with your doctor about your risk and when to start and stop screening. Your doctor may recommend getting tested more often or at a younger age if you have a higher risk.

Screening tests include stool tests, such as FIT, that can be done at home and procedures, such as colonoscopy, that are done at your doctor’s office or clinic.

Find a Doctor

Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or visit for more information.

Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public to learn more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.

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