Colorectal cancer, often referred to as colon cancer, is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States-but it doesn't have to be. This disease is largely preventable and highly curable with regular screening and early detection.
• Colon cancer occurs in both men and women.
• Colon cancer may occur at any age, but the risk is increased in persons age 50 & older.
• Medical factors that increase the risk of colon cancer include: Personal or family history of colon polyps or colon cancer; Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease; Personal or family history of hereditary colon cancer syndromes (eg, FAP or HNPCC).
Screening = Prevention and Early Detection
• Screening refers to testing that is done before symptoms are present.
• Screening tests allow the detection of early colon cancer when it is highly curable, as well as the detection of growths, called polyps, which can turn into cancer. In removing a pre-cancerous polyp, colon cancer may be prevented.
• Women and men at average risk for colorectal cancer need to begin screening at age 50. American Cancer Society joint screening recommendations for those at average risk include one of the following options, categorized by tests that screen for both cancer and potentially pre-cancerous polyps or primarily cancer:
Tests That Detect Both Polyps and Cancer
• Colonoscopy every 10 years; OR
• Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years; OR
• Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years; OR
• Computed tomographic colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years.
Tests That Detect Primarily Cancer
Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (FOBT) with high sensitivity for cancer, every year; OR Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) with high sensitivity for cancer, every year; OR Stool DNA test with high sensitivity for cancer (interval uncertain).
Men and women who have certain risk factors, or are considered at increased or high risk for colon cancer, need to speak with their doctor about beginning screening at a younger age and with greater frequency.
Early colon cancer often has no symptoms. When symptoms are present, they may include: rectal bleeding, change in bowel habits, narrowing of the stool, cramping pain in the abdomen, fatigue, or unexplained weight loss. If you have any of these symptoms, please see your doctor promptly for evaluation.
Talk to your doctor about colon cancer screening. This is one conversation that may save your life.
For More Information on Colorectal Cancer:
For Screening, Prevention, and/or Treatment Info:
Visit The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health online or call 212-746-4014.
American Cancer Society (ACS)
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
To Find a Gastroenterologist in Your Area:
American College of Gastroenterology
American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
To Find Support:
American Cancer Society
Cancer Care, Inc.
Colon Cancer Alliance
Status of State Laws Requiring Insurers to Cover the Cost of Colorectal Cancer Screening:
See the 2010 Colorectal Cancer Legislation Report Card (pdf), which provides a snapshot of each state's efforts to pass laws requiring insurers to cover the cost of colorectal cancer screening, as well as a press release about it: 32 states and the District of Columbia now have laws requiring some degree of coverage. (Though there was very little progress in terms of new state laws in 2009, as state legislators waited to see the outcome of the federal healthcare reform debate.) Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Massachussetts and New York State have comprehensive colorectal screening and treatment programs for the uninsured/underinsured that are state funded.
An interactive version of the report card can be viewed on EIF's National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA) homepage here.
Info on free or low-cost colorectal cancer screening programs:
The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched the Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP) by providing funding to 26 states and tribes across the United States. The program provides colorectal cancer screening services to low-income men and women aged 50-64 years who are underinsured or uninsured for screening, when no other insurance is available, and also conducts public education and outreach.
You can learn more about the CDC's Colorectal Cancer Control Program by clicking here.
To Join the Colon Cancer Challenge Event:
Colon Cancer Challenge
The Colon Cancer Challenge walk/run is the premier colorectal cancer awareness event for the New York area and the nation, providing a unique opportunity for the public, survivors, and families to raise awareness and contribute to the fight against this preventable and treatable disease. It includes a 1.7-mile Remembrance and Prevention Walk, a 4-mile run, and a 15K run in Central Park. In addition, if you are not able to make it to Central Park, you can still participate by starting or joining a team online at Colon Cancer Challenge.org.
Date: Sunday, March 28th, 2010
Location: Central Park, New York City
• 1.7-Mile Remembrance and Prevention Walk: 10:00 a.m.
• 4-Mile Run: 10:00 a.m.
• 15K Run: 10:15 a.m.
Whether you plan to participate in person or start/join a team online, you can register at Colon Cancer Challenge.org.
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation, which organizes the Colon Cancer Challenge event, is a New York based not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing colorectal cancer incidence and death in the metropolitan New York area and nationwide. The Colon Cancer Challenge was founded by Dr. Thomas Weber, and is organized in conjunction with the New York Road Runners. In collaboration with founding sponsor of the Colon Cancer Challenge, The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at New York-Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Center, the Foundation mission includes: Increasing public awareness about colorectal cancer and its prevention; promoting colorectal cancer screening; providing education to healthcare providers and the public; supporting the Colon Cancer Alliance, The New York Citywide Colon Cancer Control Coalition (C5), and other groups focused on the fight against colon cancer; supporting research in the causes and treatments of colorectal cancer; and supporting young scientific investigators who are the future of colon cancer research.
To register for the event, visit Colon Cancer Challenge.org.