Colorectal Cancer Awareness

By Cris Hightower, RN-CCM, DDEAMC Hematology-Oncology Clinic

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. Colorectal Cancer continues to be the 3rd leading cause of cancer related deaths among both men and women.  Colorectal cancer is categorized by an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells originating in the lower end of the digestive tract (colon and / or rectum).

The American Cancer Society estimates more than 95,520 new cases of colon cancer and almost 40,000 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed during 2017.

Early Detection Through Screening
The goal of colorectal cancer screening is to increase survivor ability by identifying the disease before symptoms occur.  Physicians use screening criteria which is based upon a person’s age, medical history and also family history.

Screening Criteria for Colorectal Cancer

  • Adults Ages 50 – 75 (unless at increased risk)
  • Increased Risk Includes:
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, etc.)
    • OR Family History of Colorectal Cancer or polyps

Screening Tests Available at DDEAMC

  • Guaiac-based Fecal Occult Blood Test
  • Sigmoidoscopy: every 3-5 years OR
  • Colonoscopy: every 10 years

Can You Reduce Your Colorectal Cancer Risk? Yes, Screening Saves Lives!

  • Talk with your provider about screening
  • Reduce Risk by Changing Habits:
    • Maintain a healthy diet
    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
    • If you smoke, STOP! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Smoking, smoking is the #1 cause of preventable illness and causes more than 480,000 deaths per year!  Smoking is attributed to 1 out of every 5 deaths per year, which is linked to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. are current smokers!  Again, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death!

Contact the below agencies for help:

  • DDEAMC Behavioral Health: (706) 787-3143 or (706) 787- 8134
  • American Cancer Society: (800) 227-2345 or Guide to Quitting Smoking
  • Georgia Tobacco Quit Line: (800) 270—7867
  • National Network of Tobacco Cessation: 1-800-QUIT-NOW and
  • National Cancer Institute’s Smoking Cessation Quitline: (877) 44U-QUIT

Want to Quit Smoking? There’s an app for that!

  • Quit For Life Program App                                                                                                The American Cancer Society and Alere Health offer a free Quit for Life smartphone app for both the iPhone and Android phones.  The app offers daily tips, motivation, a cost-savings calculator and success tracking calendar.
  • National Cancer Institute (NCI) QuitSTART App
    The National Cancer Institute in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration offer a quit-smoking app that allows users to set quit dates, track progress, financial goals, and schedule reminders. The app provides encouragement and advice to help you quit.
    Sign up by texting “QUIT” to iQUIT (47848) and select a quit date.


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