Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and here at Lone Star Circle of Care we have a team dedicated to helping patients prevent and detect the disease, which is now the second deadliest cancer in the United States.

Colorectal cancer (CRC), also known as colon cancer, is a disease in which cells in the colon or rectum grow out of control. Sometimes abnormal growths, called polyps, form in the colon or rectum, and turn into cancer, but screening tests can find polyps so they can be removed before that can happen.

The Lone Star Circle of Care Population Health team shows off their blue outfits in support of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The team works with patients to ensure they get screened for colon cancer on a regular basis.

Regular screening helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage when treatment works best. That’s why the Lone Star Circle of Care Population Health team helps to ensure our patients are being checked for colon cancer on a regular basis. They reach out to eligible patients to see if they have already been checked for the cancer, and if not, the team works with the patient to get tested with Cologuard, a FIT kit, a fecal occult blood test, or a colonoscopy. More information about screening options can be found here.

The FIT kit and Cologuard are among many options for patients to get checked for colon cancer.

Who’s At Risk of Colon Cancer?

You are considered to be at increased risk for colorectal cancer if you:

  • Have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
  • Have a hereditary polyposis syndrome, Crohn’s disease, or Ulcerative Colitis
  • Are Black/African American

People in these groups should talk to their primary care provider or gastroenterologist about the appropriate age to begin colorectal cancer screening.

You are considered average risk for colorectal cancer if you are age 45 or older and do not have any of these risk factors:

  • Have had colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps before
  • Have had one or more parent, brother or sister, or child who has had colorectal cancer or polyps
  • Have had family members with cancers, such as colorectal cancer or cancer in the uterus, ovary, or other organs
  • Are Black/African American
  • Have (or have had) Inflammatory Bowel Disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • Have Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer)
  • Have a hereditary polyposis syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

Remember that even if you have no symptoms or a family history of colorectal cancer, you should still get checked for colon cancer. In addition to being checked, you should consider some lifestyle changes to lower your risk:

  • Do not smoke or use tobacco products
  • Eat more foods that are high in fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, and veggies
  • Eat more cruciferous veggies, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts
  • Raise calcium intake with low-fat milk, shellfish, salmon, and calcium supplements with vitamin D
  • Eat less fats, oils, butter, and red meat
  • Limit your intake of charcoal-broiled foods and skip salt-cured foods
  • Limit your intake of highly processed foods
  • Get active
  • Keep your weight in the normal range
  • Limit alcohol intake

Take the time and make your health a priority to ensure you and your loved ones are screened by scheduling an appointment with a Lone Star Circle of Care provider to discuss your options. Just give us a call at 1-877-800-5722 today. We’re here for your health.

Blog article co-written by Thelma Guzman, Lone Star Circle of Care Colon Cancer Screening Coordinator.