Preventing colorectal cancer starts with screening

Published 7:32 pm Thursday, February 23, 2017

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and the Beaufort County Public Health Department invites residents to help achieve its goal of 80 percent screened by 2018.

Colorectal cancer is the third-most common cancer and second leading cause of death among cancers in the United States. The disease strikes one in 20 people, taking the lives of nearly 50,000 people each year. Unlike most cancers, colorectal cancer is one of the few that can be prevented through screening.

The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age, with more than 90 percent of all cases occurring in people aged 50 or older. It is important for all adults over age 50 to be screened once every five to 10 years to prevent the onset of colorectal cancer. Risk increases for individuals who have a family history of colorectal cancer, so it is important for those at risk to be screened early.

Individual steps can be taken to prevent the disease, such as diet and exercise. It is important to consume a diet high in fiber and limit the intake of red meats, especially those that are processed. If you or loved ones would like to learn more about eating healthy or improving lifestyles, please call 252-946-1902 or visit

Many who hear the words “colorectal cancer” may think there is no way they could ever have it.

This automatically makes people not want to get screened, often leading to excuses such as: “I feel fine,” “There’s probably nothing wrong,” or “I don’t have time.” The disease does not discriminate, as it affects both women and men. It is critical that everyone gets screened, even those who may be at low risk. Screening is important when it comes to preventing colorectal cancer. As a rule of thumb, remember that a one-hour screening every five to 10 years can prevent the onset of the disease.

If you or someone you know may be at risk for developing colorectal cancer, ask your doctor about getting screened today!