Colorectal cancer strikes women nearly as often as men, and frequently begins without symptoms. Consider the facts:
•Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in women.
•About 67,000 women are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year and more than 40 percent of them 28,600 women will die from the disease.
•All women aged 50 and older are at risk for developing colorectal cancer, because this is the age at which polyps usually begin to form and grow. Some women, however, are at increased risk for developing colorectal cancer before the age of 50 and should be screened earlier.
Who are these women?
•Women with a strong family history, especially a parent or sibling who has had colorectal cancer or polyps.
•Women who themselves have had colon polyps or long standing inflammatory bowel disease.
Signs that you may have colorectal cancer include blood in your bowel movements, a change in bowel habits, and abdominal pain. However, colorectal cancer is frequently a silent disease, beginning with no symptoms at all.
The good news is that colorectal cancer is preventable and if detected early, it’s curable. In fact, getting tested for colorectal cancer even if you don’t have symptoms (called “screening”) can reduce your risk of developing the disease by up to 75 percent. This is why screening is so important. Screening for colorectal cancer can detect and remove polyps before they become a problem. Screenings can also detect colorectal cancer while it is still in its early, curable stages.
Medicare now pays for colorectal cancer screening and so do many other insurance providers.
You can prevent colorectal cancer by getting screened. Talk to your doctor or medical professional about a screening that can literally save your life.
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