Learn what to look for when it comes to colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women. During National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, find out how to recognize it and why you should be screened by your doctor for early detection and treatment.

Pay attention to your bowel activity
The most obvious symptoms of colorectal cancer have to do with the bowel habits. While these can be symptoms of colorectal cancer, they can also be signs of many other things. At the same time, it’s important to recognize that you should not wait to feel pain before you’re screened. Keeping in mind that you should be screened regularly for colorectal cancer, here are some symptoms that may be experienced:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Frequent diarrhea or constipation
  • Unusually narrow stools
  • Bloody stools
  • Persistent tiredness or exhaustion
  • A feeling of fullness in the bowels
  • Frequent gas or lower intestinal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss

It’s crucial to get screened regularly
If everyone 50 or older had regular screening tests, as many as 60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Don’t become a statistic. Talk to your doctor about getting regularly screenings if you are 50 or older. When colorectal cancer is discovered and treated early, the chances of survival are dramatically higher. Screening is not difficult, and can include a colonoscopy, a fecal occult blood test, a digital rectal exam or other methods your doctor can talk to you about. While a cancer screening isn’t a pleasant experience, it’s a fast one that can literally save your life. You can’t afford to miss those important appointments.

Learn more about cancer at North Hills Hospital's online health library. Visit North Hills Hospital online (search for Gastroenterology) or call 1-855-5NHILLS for a physician referral. Take control of your health today.

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