Colorectal cancer can begin without any symptoms, but some warning signs may develop over time. Talk to your doctor if you have ongoing symptoms such as:
- Rectal bleeding
- Blood in the stool (bright red, dark, or black)
- Change in bowel movements, especially regarding stool shape (e.g., narrow like a pencil)
- Cramping pain in lower abdomen
- Discomfort or the urge to move bowels when there is no need
- Weight loss without dieting
- Constant fatigue.
Colon Cancer Screenings
Colon cancer screenings should begin at age 50 (45 for African-Americans), or sooner if you have any of these risk factors:
- Strong personal or family history of colon cancer or polyps
- Family with hereditary colon cancer syndromes
- Personal history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease.
Colonoscopy is the safest, most effective screening for pre-cancerous or cancerous colorectal polyps. Pre-cancerous polyps can be removed during a colonoscopy—often preventing cancer.
Most people with Hepatitis C have few symptoms—or none—for years or decades. But left unchecked, chronic Hepatitis C infection can lead to liver scarring and cirrhosis. Sometimes those can lead to other life-threatening problems including liver failure or cancer. Get screened if you are at risk so treatment can be most effective.
Hepatitis C Screening
Everyone born between 1945 and 1965 should be screened for Hepatitis C. So should anyone with these risk factors:
- Any drug use (nasal, injected, smoked)
- Received chronic dialysis, blood transfusions, or organ transplants before 1990.