After lung cancer, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Calvert County has a higher colorectal cancer death rate than the national average.
Colorectal cancer is a cancer of the colon (large intestine) or the rectum. Colorectal cancer usually starts from polyps in the colon or rectum. A polyp is a growth that should not be there. Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer. Screening tests can find this cancer early by finding polyps and removing them before they turn into cancer. When colorectal cancer is caught early, 90% of people can be cured.
Who is at most risk for colorectal cancer?
- Men and women age 50 and over
- People with a family history of this cancer
- Individuals with a history of colon polyps
- Individuals with a history of Ulcerative or Crohn’s Colitis
- Individuals with a history of ovarian or endometrial cancer before the age of 50
- Individuals with a history of radiation treatment to the pelvic area
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer usually has no symptoms early on. That is why screening tests are so important. However, if you have any of the following symptoms, see your doctor:
- Blood in the stool
- A change in bowel habits
- Lower abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
How can you reduce your risk?
- All adults over age 50 should have a colon cancer screening generally with a colonoscopy
- Exercise. Brisk walking several times a week will cut your risk significantly
- Eat a balanced diet that is low in fat and high in fiber and calcium
- Avoid all forms of tobacco
No Cost Screening Services:
Calvert County Health Department has grant funding available through the Cigarette Restitution Fund to provide colonoscopy screening at no cost to qualifying individuals. You may qualify if you are:
- A Calvert County Resident
- Age 50 or older
- Younger than 50 if you have a family or personal history of colorectal cancer or a personal history of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Uninsured or Under-insured
- Meet income guidelines
Call 410-535-5400 x348 to see if you are eligible.