Your Health

March is National Colorectal Cancer Month

March 16, 2022 — Jane Garner

Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in either the colon or rectum and are often grouped together because they have many features in common. It can be better known as colon cancer for short, or rectal cancer depending on where it starts.

Each year, more than 50,000 families across the country lose a loved one to colorectal cancer — the fourth most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in America. (

To raise awareness to this disease, March has been implemented to be National Colorectal Cancer Month. Signs and symptoms can be hard to recognize in the early stages of colorectal cancer, so it is recommended to have your first colonoscopy at age 45, if no abnormalities are found and you don’t have an increased risk of colon cancer, it is recommended to be repeated every 10 years.  If you do have a family history of this cancer, it may be recommended to have a colonoscopy at an earlier age.

Common signs of colorectal Cancer are:

  • Change in bowel habitsConstipationdiarrhea, narrowing of stools, incomplete evacuation, and bowel incontinence — although usually symptoms of other, less serious problems — can also be symptoms of colorectal cancer.
  • Blood on or in the stool: By far the most noticeable of all the signs, blood on or in the stool can be associated with colorectal cancer. However, it does not necessarily indicate cancer, since numerous other problems can cause bleeding in the digestive tract, including hemorrhoidsanal tears (fissures), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease, to name only a few. In addition, iron and some foods, such as beets, can give the stool a black or red appearance, falsely indicating blood in the stool. However, if you notice blood in or on your stool, see your doctor to rule out a serious condition and to ensure that proper treatment is received.
  • Unexplained anemiaAnemia is a shortage of red blood cells— the cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. If you are anemic, you may experience shortness of breath. You may also feel tired and sluggish, so much so that rest does not make you feel better.
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain or bloating
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Vomiting


Remember to always consult with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

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Topics: Your Health

Written by

Jane Garner

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