Colorectal Cancer, Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer & Skin Cancer
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention established the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (CCCP) in 1998. In July 2006, Southeastern Idaho Public Health received funding to bring the program to Southeastern Idaho. The focus of our CCCP in Health District 6 is Colorectal Cancer and Skin Cancer prevention.
Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women over age 50. According to the CDC, colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. Colorectal cancer affects both men and women and is easily detectable with regular screenings starting at age 50.
Colorectal cancer does not always cause symptoms, so you may not know you have it. The only way to know for sure is to get screened. There are multiple screening tests you can do so that you can catch precancerous polyps early on before they turn into cancer. When colorectal cancer is found early and appropriately treated, survival is greatly enhanced, with a 5-year survival rate of 90%.
The American Cancer Society recommends a few types of screening tests for adults beginning at age 50:
- There are two types of FOBTs that detect blood in the stool. One uses the chemical guaiac to detect blood and the other, called a FIT (Fecal Immunochemical Test), uses antibodies. You can receive these test kits from your healthcare provider and can perform the test on your own in your home. Using a stick or brush to obtain a small sample, you return the test to the doctor or a lab where they will check the sample. This test should be performed once a year.
- For this test, the doctor puts a short, thin, flexible tube with a light and camera into your rectum and checks for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and lower third of the colon. This test should be done every 5 years. When done with a High-Sensitivity FOBT, the FOBT should be done every 3 years.
- This test looks for polyps throughout the entire colon. A doctor puts a long, flexible tube with a light and camera inside the anus and leads it through the entire colon, checking for polyps inside. Most polyps can be removed during this test. This test should be done every 10 years. If polyps are found, the doctor may request to see you sooner than 10 years.
- A colonoscopy is often used as a follow-up test if anything unusual is found during one of the other screening tests.
High-Sensitivity FOBT (Stool test)
Discuss with your doctor to determine which screening option is best for you. Medicare and many insurance plans will help pay for the screening. Check with your plan to find out which tests are covered for you.
Some people show no symptoms, but be on the lookout for these common Colorectal Cancer symptoms:
- Blood in stool
- Stomach pains, aches, or cramps that don’t go away
- Unexplained weight loss
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact your physician.
To lower the risk for colorectal cancer or any cancer the American Cancer Society recommends people do the following:
- Get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week
- Eat five or more servings of vegetables and fruits daily.
- Avoid tobacco, and limit alcohol if you drink at all
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Ask relatives about your family's cancer history
Colon cancer is not a topic that people like to discuss, but we must talk about it and raise awareness on the importance of getting screened.
If you are 50 or older, talk with your doctor about getting screened it can save your life!
For more information about Comprehensive Cancer Control Program or to join the Southeastern Idaho Cancer Control Coalition, please contact LeAnne Salinas, Comprehensive Cancer Control Coordinator at 208-478-6315 or .