National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

  • March 11, 2024

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.  Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths nationally with more than 52,000 dying from it in 2023. Colorectal cancer disproportionately impacts Black Americans who have the 2nd highest mortality and incidence of colorectal cancer.  Some risk factors associated with colorectal cancer include:

  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Older Age
  • Alcohol Abuse
  • Low Fiber, high fat diet
  • Diabetes
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Some genetic conditions
  • A personal diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease

Lifestyle changes reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.  Changes you can make in your everyday life to lower your risk of colorectal cancer include:  

  • A diet containing: fruits vegetables and whole grains
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation
  • Quitting smoking
  • Exercising most days of the week
  • Maintaining healthy weight

Young-onset Colorectal Cancer is on the rise. According to the American Cancer Society:  More than 10% of colorectal cancers occur in people under the age of 50. Young-onset colorectal cancer cases are rising 1.5% each year.  In 2021 the recommended screening age for colorectal cancer was lowered to 45 from 50 by the US Preventative Service Task Force.

Early detection is important and makes colorectal easier to treat. Some screening option to consider are:

  • Colonoscopy: Colonoscopy is the gold standard test for colorectal cancer. Colonoscopies detect over 95% of all colorectal cancer
  • Cologuard: Cologuard is a non-invasive at home test that requires no dietary preparation. Cologuard detects 92% of colon cancers.

If you are age 45 to 75, contact your Whittier health care provider today through MyChart or call 617-427-1000 to discuss your risk and your screening options.

Data from: Center for Disease Control

A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).