Detect Colon Cancer Early

Detect Colon Cancer Early

Don’t Wait to Get Tested

Nobody knows why more people in their 40s and younger are getting colorectal cancer (CRC)…but since the 1990s, the rate has been rising fast. Among U.S. adults up to age 49, CRC is now the leading cause of cancer death in men and the second leading cause in women.

Alaska Natives have a higher risk for CRC than any other racial group. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for Alaska Native men and women, with early onset CRC rates increasing every year.

Recommended preventive screening for all adults doesn’t begin until age 45. That’s why it’s important to watch for early symptoms in your 20s, 30s, and 40s.

Four Warning Signs of Early-Onset CRC

  1. Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain
  2. Rectal bleeding with bright red blood
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Iron-deficiency anemia

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Don’t ignore the signs. In many cases, people who have these symptoms do not have cancer. But you should talk to your doctor if you have any of them, so the cause can be found and treated.
  • Talk to your doctor about your risk and when you should begin screening. You may need to start screening at age 40 or younger, if you have a family history of CRC, certain genetic conditions, inflammatory bowel disease, or certain lifestyle habits.
  • Get recommended preventive screening beginning at age 45. Colorectal cancer that’s found early through screening, before you have symptoms, may be treated more effectively. Screening may even prevent CRC by finding and removing pre-cancerous growths. Recommended preventive screenings are covered by the Plan at no cost to you.
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