March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

The need to raise awareness about colorectal cancer is more crucial than ever, with colorectal cancer screenings plummeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.

Colorectal cancer is the nation’s second leading cause of cancer deaths among cancers affecting both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 90 percent of colorectal cancers occur in people who are age 50 or older.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer may include blood in or on the stool, stomach pain that doesn’t go away, or unexplained weight loss. But precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, underscoring the importance of colorectal screening. A colonoscopy is one of several screening tests for colorectal cancer.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults age 50 to 75 be screened for colorectal cancer. People at an increased risk of getting colorectal cancer should speak with a doctor to determine if they need to begin screening at an earlier age.