What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon (large intestines, bowel) or rectum. It is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths for Queen Anne's County residents. Over 93% of all colorectal cancers are found in persons age 45 or older. Regular screening starting at the age of 45 can prevent colorectal cancer by finding polyps (precancerous growths) and removing them. If there is a family history (First Degree Relatives - mother, father, sister, brother, or child) of colorectal polyps or cancer, screening may need to start before the age of 45.
What are the symptoms associated with Colorectal Cancer?
- Bleeding from the rectum or blood in stool
- Pains or cramps in the lower abdomen
- Changes in bowel habits (constipation/diarrhea)
- Narrowing or "penciling" of stool
- Unexplained abdominal mass
- Unexplained weight loss
It is best to detect colorectal cancer before any symptoms develop, through a screening test.
Which colorectal cancer screening tests are recommended?
The Maryland Department of Health's Cancer Prevention, Education, Screening and Treatment (CPEST) Program recommends these screening methods:
- Colonoscopy - The gold standard for screening. Every 10 years for average risk adults. More frequently for higher risk adults.
- High-sensitivity fecal occult blood tests (FOBT) or Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) - Annually
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (every 5 years) combined with a high-sensitivity FOBT (every 3 years)
How do I get tested?
Ask your medical provider, or call our Colorectal Cancer Screening Program at 443-262-4509. We offer screening services for low-income underinsured residents, and patient navigation services for those with insurance.