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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

By Entira Family Clinics

Colorectal cancer screening saves lives. While this cancer is the second leading

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cause of cancer deaths, it doesn’t have to be. Cancer is such a dangerous disease, and colorectal cancer is especially dangerous. However, many people still don’t know the importance of early detection.

At Entira Family Clinics, we want to help everyone understand cancer risks and know how they can get proper treatment. We answer the important questions about this cancer, so you can take steps to prevent or detect it.  

What Exactly Is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is cancer that develops in the rectum and colon. It’s a particularly deadly form of cancer. Every year, almost 140,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 56,000 pass away from the disease.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer are relatively silent during the early stages. However, as the cancer progresses, it forms polyps and tumors in the colon. Eventually, it can cause a number of stomach and intestinal issues, including:

  • Stomach discomfort
  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Frequent gas pains
  • Blood in the stool
  • Increased fatigue

Symptoms like these can persist for a number of weeks. If you have experienced these issues for some time, then you should see a health care provider immediately to determine the cause.

Is Colorectal Cancer Preventable?

If you treat your colon correctly, then you can significantly reduce your cancer risk. Try a few of the following colorectal cancer preventative tips:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid high-fat foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • Consume full servings of fiber
  • Receive regular health screenings

The key to colorectal cancer prevention is a colonoscopy. Colonoscopies can detect polyps long before they become dangerous. In fact, a doctor can remove small, benign polyps during the screening. They are recommended every ten years for healthy individuals.

A colonoscopy test becomes necessary for men and women over 50 or someone suffering from the above symptoms for a significant period of time. People with a higher risk of cancer, like those with a medical history of cancer, should consider receiving a colonoscopy before the age of 50. Talk to your health care provider.


According to The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), there are other types of screenings available besides the colonoscopy although it is considered the gold standard for colorectal cancer screening.

High-Sensitivity FOBT (Stool Test) — You receive a test kit from your health care provider. At home, you use a stick or brush, included in the kit, to obtain a small amount of stool. You return the kit to your health care provider or lab, where stool samples are checked for anything unusual.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (Flex Sig)—The doctor puts a short, thin, flexible, lighted tube into your rectum, and checks for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and lower third of the colon. This test may be used in combination with the FOBT.


There are other screening tests in use or being studied, but many insurance plans don’t cover them. If anything unusual is found during the test, you likely will need a follow-up colonoscopy.  They include Double Contrast Barium Enema, Virtual Colonoscopy. and Stool DNA Test. For more information, Please go to

What Happens If I Have Colorectal Cancer?

If you do develop colorectal cancer, don’t panic. The cancer is curable in its early stages, which is why it’s so important to have a colonoscopy early on. A colorectal surgeon can remove the affected parts of the colon before it progresses. Watch for the warning signs and get to know your family history so you know your personal risk.

If you have concerns, talk with your health care provider at the Entira Family Clinics. If you have cancer risks, we can help you create a plan and receive the necessary screenings to detect and treat any cancer. Contact us today at 651-788-4444 to set up an appointment.



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