Regular Screening: The Most Powerful Weapon in The Fight Against Colorectal Cancer

With the recent passing of 90’s teenage television heartthrob Luke Perry, from a massive stroke, new light has been shed on his 2015 colorectal cancer scare for which he became a bold advocate for early screening and intervention. March is also colorectal cancer awareness month, and so it is certainly relevant to learn the signs and symptoms of the third most common diagnosed cancer in the United States.

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is: “a cancer that starts in the colon or rectum…most colorectal cancers start as a growth on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. These growths are called polyps.” Colorectal cancer does not always have symptoms right away but some of the signs and symptoms may be the following:

  • A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days.
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that’s not relieved by having one.
  • Rectal bleeding with bright red blood.
  • Blood in the stool, which may make the stool look dark.
  • Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain.
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss

Regular screening is the most powerful weapon in the fight against colorectal cancer. Even with no symptoms, a colorectal screening test can detect polyps in their early stages so they can be removed before they become harmful. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), recommends that every adult between the age of 50 and 75 should be screened for colorectal cancer.