Colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer in the United States—and the third leading cause of cancer death. Almost 140,000 new cases of the condition are diagnosed each year among Americans.

During National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month this March, our team at AFC Urgent Care Farragut wants to offer some insight into this common but very preventable form of cancer.

What Exactly Is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is specifically cancer that forms in either the colon or the rectum. Because of this, the condition is also sometimes referenced as colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where it originated.

While this type of cancer is incredibly common, it’s also very preventable and treatable. That’s because colonoscopy, which is the gold standard for colorectal screenings, allows doctors to spot and remove pre-cancerous lesions before they develop into cancer.

Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer

  • Older age
  • African-American race
  • A personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps
  • Inflammatory intestinal conditions
  • Family history of colon cancer
  • A sedentary lifestyle

What Are the Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

In many cases, the earliest stages of colorectal cancer will not cause any noticeable symptoms at all. That’s why it is so vitally important to undergo colorectal cancer screenings as recommended by your doctor.

In latter or severe stages of colorectal cancer, you may experience symptoms such as a change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, blood in the stool, or abdominal discomfort. If you’re experiencing these for any length of time, speak with your doctor.

Colorectal Cancer Prevention

  • Get screened for colorectal cancer.
  • Eat lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Watch your weight.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.

Wondering where your health currently stands? Visit AFC Urgent Care Farragut today. No appointment is necessary!