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Kraig W. Jacobson, M.D.

Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

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What you should know about colorectal cancer

Posted by on in Primary Care
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We urge you to learn about colorectal cancer – cancer of the colon or rectum. Why? According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, someone is diagnosed with colon cancer every four minutes. Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States when women and men are combined. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that if everyone 50 years old or older were screened regularly, as many as 60 percent of the deaths from colorectal cancer could be avoided.

Screening tests help find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. We hope you will join us in sharing the benefits of being screened early. Now is a great time because March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. This cancer is highly preventable and treatable when discovered early.

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer screening is crucial because this cancer doesn’t always produce symptoms. When they do appear, symptoms for colorectal cancer may include: blood in or on the stool, stomach pain, aches or cramps that do not go away, and inexplicable loss of weight. Because these symptoms may be caused by something other than colorectal cancer, it is important to talk to your doctor if you experience any of them.

Who should be screened?

  • Adults 50 years old or older, although if you are African American or at high risk you should be tested starting at age 40.
  • People who have a personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer should be screened beginning at an age 10 years younger than the age at which their youngest affected relative received a diagnosis.
  • People who have genetic syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (also known as Lynch syndrome)

What screening tests are available?

  • Stool-blood test
  • CT scan
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Colonoscopy

The most comprehensive screening test is a colonoscopy. After you turn 50, you should get a colonoscopy every 10 years. The test includes preparation and a 30-minute procedure in which a doctor may remove precancerous polyps from your colon.

What steps can you take to reduce colorectal cancer?

  • Get screened at age 50 and continue to be screened every 10 years, or get screened before you turn 50 if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
  • Maintain a healthy weight and physical activity
  • Eat a well-balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits and whole grains
  • Limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking

Our primary care doctors are happy to discuss the screening test or answer questions you may have about colorectal cancer.

Tagged in: Cancer Prevention

An energetic problem solver, Dr. Kraig Jacobson has spent his career treating patients and teaching about the complexities of allergy, asthma and immunology. He has practiced medicine in Eugene since 1979. The bigger the challenge, the more he enjoys his work.