Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people ages 50 and older.
The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 50. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer-that’s why it’s so important to get screened.
To increase awareness about the importance of colorectal cancer screening, the Whittier Street Health Center is proudly participating in Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. In general, 1 in 3 adults between the ages of 50 and 75 years of age and not being screened as recommended. Locally, the statewide screening rate in the state of Massachusetts is 74.6%, however there are some disparities in screening rates among ethnicities and select regions. The rates among Hispanics (55.7%) and black, non-Hispanics (67.6%), are notably lower than the rate among whites (76.2%) according to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
As related to reduced screening rates, an estimated total of 8.2% of cancer incidences among males within the state of Massachusetts are attributed to colon/rectum cancers along with 8.1% of cancers among females as reported by the Massachusetts Cancer Registry. Colon/rectum cancer was deemed the third most common type of cancer death in Massachusetts for both men and women between 2009 and 2013.
With regular screening, the risk associated with colorectal cancer may be greatly reduced as polyps can be found earlier and removed before they develop into cancers or are found in earlier stages when the disease is easier to manage. In an effort to reduce rates of colorectal cancer, the Whittier Street Health Center encourages regular screening and is available to provide resources for routine screening. Through partnership with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, our mission is to provide high quality, reliable and accessible primary care and services for diverse populations in an effort to promote overall wellbeing. We strive to offer available resources for all age and ethnic groups to better the health of our local community.
People over the age of 50 have the highest risk of colorectal cancer. You may also be at higher risk of you are African American, smoke, or have a family history of colorectal cancer.
Everyone can take these healthy steps to help prevent colorectal cancer:
- Get screened starting at age 50.
- Encourage your family members and friends over age 50 to get screened.
- Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoking.
- Get plenty of physical activity and eat healthy.
For more information, call (617) 427-1000 to visit the Whittier Street Health Center at 1290 Tremont Street in Roxbury, MA or online at http://wshc.org/.