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Colorectal Cancer Screening Saves Lives

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, marked by the dark blue ribbon

that is a call for us to get screened for Colon and rectal cancer. Many people shun from getting this test but as you read below I am praying that you will realize that the self-test is a very simple at home test and is the first step in the screening process for colon cancer.

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the colon or rectum, it is called colorectal cancer. Sometimes it is called colon cancer.

This cancers affect both men and women, and is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. Colorectal polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum) can turn into cancer if not removed. Colorectal cancer doesn’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. Someone could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why getting screened regularly for colorectal cancer is so important.

  • Screening can find pre-cancerous polyps in the colon or rectum—that can be removed before they turn into cancer.

  • Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage when treatment works best. About nine out of every 10 people whose colorectal cancers are found early and treated appropriately are still alive five years later.

  • If you are 45 -75 years old, get screened now. if you’re older than 75, talk to your healthcare provider about screening. If you’re younger than 45 and think you may be at high risk of getting colorectal cancer

Risk Factors

Having a history of Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps increases your risk. Speak with your healthcare provider about when to begin screening, which test is right for you, and how often to get tested.

Behavioral Factors that increase your risk for colorectal cancer includes:

Types of Tests

The guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) and the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) detect blood in the stool. It is done once a year. You collect a small sample, place it in the kit and mail it or return it to your doctor.

The FIT-DNA test combines the FIT test with a test that detects altered DNA in the stool. You collect an entire bowel movement and send it to a lab once every three years.

For the Flexible Sigmoidoscopy a short, thin, flexible, lighted tube into your rectum to check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and lower third of the colon done every 5 years or 10 years.

For the Colonoscopy a longer, thin, flexible, lighted tube is inserted inside the rectum and the entire colon to check for polyps or cancer. During this test most polyps and some cancers can be removed. Colonoscopy is also used as a follow-up test for the other tests. Done every 10 years (for people with low risk of colorectal cancer).

The Computed tomography (CT) colonography, is also called a virtual colonoscopy, uses X-rays and computers to produce images of the entire colon, which are displayed on a computer screen for the doctor to analyze. Done every 5 years.

Signs and Symptom may include:

  • A change in bowel habits.

  • Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement).

  • Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty all the way.

  • Abdominal pain, aches, or cramps that don’t go away.

  • Weight loss and you don’t know why.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider. As they may be caused by something other than cancer. The only way to know what is causing them is to see your healthcare provider.


Type this link into your browser and Take the Colorectal Cancer Quiz


Dr. Colleen Kilgore

Director of Health Ministry

Mountain View Baptist Church-Greenville

​ 'My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...'

Hosea 4:6

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