Thinking that you might have colorectal cancer is a terrifying thought. What if we told you that the death rate has dropped for several decades in both men in women? Due to updated screening methods, earlier detection, and improved treatment, there are more than one million colorectal cancer survivors in the United States. Learn more about how to screen for colorectal cancer and what the process means for you and your family.

 

What do I need to know about how to screen for colorectal cancer?

Finding colorectal cancer when it is small – and hasn’t spread – is often key to higher success in defeating the third deadliest cancer. TheAmerican Cancer Society currently recommends that people at average risk start regular screenings at 45-years-old. This number recently decreased due to the increased rate of younger adults developing colorectal cancer. If you are in good health, you should continue the regular screenings until you are 75-years-old. From 76-years-old to 85-years-old, the decision to screen for colorectal cancer depends on your overall health and preference. For those above the age of 85-years-old, there are no current recommendations for colorectal screening.

 

What happens during a colorectal cancer screening?

There are two categories of colorectal cancer screenings, according to the American Cancer Society. Stool-based tests allow an opportunity for the discovery of polyps. Many stool-based tests for hidden blood in stool samples. There are no precautions that need to be made before the test, such as dietary restrictions. The other test, a colonoscopy, is often needed to further diagnose after the stool-based tests.

What happens if I get an abnormal screening for colorectal cancer?

If your results from the stool-based test come back abnormal, you will need a colonoscopy to diagnose whether you have colorectal cancer. During a colonoscopy, the physician will look at the length of your colon and may biopsy and/or remove any polyps. Colonoscopies need to be performed less, but they take more preparation than stool-based tests.

Learn more about what you can do to protect your butt against colorectal cancer. If you have any questions or concerns about colorectal cancer screenings, reach out to your primary doctor.

 

You may have heard that the American Cancer Society recently reduced its screening guidelines for colorectal cancer to 45-years-old. What does that mean and why were the screening guidelines reduced from 50-years-old? Learn more about what early age onset colorectal cancer is and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.

 

Why were the colorectal screening guidelines reduced?

The American Cancer Society recently reduced the standard screening age for those at average risk of colorectal cancer for multiple reasons. The first, and possibly most important, is the increase of diagnoses at younger ages. Early age onset colorectal cancer occurs when people who are under 50-years-old develop colon cancer. While diagnoses over the age of 50-years-old and above are decreasing, those under 50-years-old are seeing higher rates of the disease. Reducing the screening age is one way to ensure that those diagnosed with early age onset colon cancer have a better chance of fighting the disease.

 

What can I do to prevent early age onset colorectal cancer?

Aside from regular screenings starting at 45-years-old, there are multiple ways that you can lower your risk for early age onset colorectal cancer. First, you can eat healthily and stay at a healthy weight. Avoid process meats and sugar, while adding in more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the first steps to making sure you stay healthy as you age. Second, learn about your family history. If anyone has had colorectal cancer in your family, you may be more prone to developing the disease. Additionally, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease may increase your risk of colorectal cancer. Finally, pay attention to early symptoms.[1] If you notice changes in your bowel movements or increase in fatigue, talk to your physician about the symptoms.

 

If you think you may be at risk for early age onset colorectal cancer, reach out to your family physician. Early detection is key in survival rates for colorectal cancer, so make sure to take your symptoms seriously and stay on top of your health.

Learn more about colorectal cancer and stay up-to-date by reading our blog.

Colorectal cancer, commonly known as colon cancer, is one of the world’s deadliest cancers. However, there is a lot of confusion about the disease. Know the facts about colorectal cancer and what puts you at risk.

 

What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer occurs where there are abnormal cells that divide and survive within your color or the rectum. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer often starts as a noncancerous growth, called a polyp. The most common type is an adenomatous polyp, also known as an adenoma. While one-third of people can expect to develop at least one adenoma, only 10 percent are estimated to turn into cancer. The chance that the adenoma becomes cancerous increases as it gets bigger.

 

How likely am I to get colorectal cancer?

In 2019, there will be around 101,420 new cases of colon cancer and 44,180 new cases of rectal cancer. Right now, your lifetime odds of developing colorectal cancer is 1 in 22 for men and 1 in 24 for women. However, there are various other factors that will affect your likeliness to develop the disease. The American Cancer Society predicts that there are over one million colorectal cancer survivors today.

 

Why are men more likely to get colorectal cancer than women?

Colorectal cancer is 30 percent more likely to occur in men than women. Risk factors, such as likeliness to smoke cigarettes and hormones, play a large role in making cancer more prominent in men. According to studies from the American Cancer Society, the median age for colon cancer diagnoses in men is 68-years-old and for women is 72-years-old. The median age for colon cancer diagnoses for both men and women is 63-years-old.

 

What is the survival rate for colorectal cancer?

Luckily, deaths related to colorectal cancer are decreasing due to earlier screening and advanced technology. According to the American Cancer Society, the relative survival rate for colorectal cancer is at 65 percent at five years after diagnoses and 58 percent at 10 years after diagnoses. One way to increase your chance of fighting this deadly disease is to follow the screening guidelines and pay attention to early warning signs of colorectal cancer.[1]

Learn more about colorectal cancer through our other blogs and get involved with the Colon Cancer Foundation to help us support colorectal cancer survivors and their families.

 

This month, honor the thousands of colon cancer patients, survivors, and champions by spreading awareness regarding colorectal cancer during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Since 2000, the colorectal cancer community has mobilized during the month of March to raise awareness, increase education and convince loved ones to get screened. There are multiple ways to get involved during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, starting with learning more about colorectal cancer.

Get educated about colorectal cancer

While colorectal cancer in adults over 50-years-old has declined, colorectal cancer is on the rise among younger generations. Today, even teenagers are being diagnosed at alarmingly greater rates. Around 13,500 people under the age of 50 will become diagnosed with colon cancer. One of the largest issues that screenings do no begin until 50, so these diagnoses will often become late-stage diagnoses. Make sure to have the conversation about colorectal cancer with your loved ones and your doctors earlier than later.

Wear blue to show your support

March 1 is officially Dress in Blue Day, but you can wear blue all month long to show support for colorectal cancer survivors and patients. Encourage your workplace and friends to wear blue to get the conversation about colorectal cancer started. Make sure to post to social media and tag the Colon Cancer Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Participate in the 16th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge

Join us for the 16th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge on March 24 to show support for those with colorectal cancer and raise funds for the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation. We are ecstatic to host the challenge this year at the Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island. In 2018, an estimated 135,000 Americans were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. If caught early enough, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent. With the 16th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge, we can work together to reduce these fatalities. Whether you participate in the 5K or spearhead fundraising efforts among your friends, you are helping the Colon Cancer Foundation to improve the life of current patients, survivors and future patients of this deadly disease. No matter what distance you cover, you will make up ground in the race to prevent colorectal cancer.

Whether you choose to dress in blue or attend the 16th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge — we hope you do both — make sure to show your support during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Even after the month of March, you can help us fight colorectal cancer with the “Eighty by 2018.” Take the pledge to get screened,  choose a healthy way of eating and lead a  physically active life.

The Colon Cancer Foundation is excited to announce the 16th Anniversary of the Colon Cancer Challenge. This year, we will return to Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island to work together to educate about colorectal cancer and support those who are affected by its debilitating effects. Join the rest of the colorectal cancer community on March 24, 2019, to support the Colon Cancer Foundation’s initiatives.

 

What Is the 2019 Colon Cancer Challenge and Why Should I Join?

 

In 2004 Dr. Thomas K. Weber founded the Colon Cancer Challenge. This year, we continue Dr. Weber’s work to increase public awareness of colorectal cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 51,020 people will die from colorectal cancer during 2019. The lifetime risk for colorectal cancer is nearly 1 in 22 for men and 1 in 24 for women. However, with early detection, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent. Chances are that you will know someone in your life who will be affected by this deadly disease. Join us on March 24 for the 2019 Colon Cancer Challenge to raise awareness about the second deadliest cancer.

 

Where Do the Funds Raised Go?

 

Every year, the Colon Cancer Foundation raises funds in order to raise awareness of colorectal cancer, the importance of early detection and the most effective screening methods available. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization registered in New York State and listed by the Federal IRS as a public charity, we work hard to ensure that all funds align with our mission in the fight against colorectal cancer. The fundraising efforts at the 2019 Colon Cancer Challenge provide free educational materials and participation in outreach events, among other initiatives:

 

  • A national tour of our educational inflatable colon – the Rollin’ Colon.
  • Local, state, national and global programs that promote colorectal cancer prevention and early detection.
  • Awards to young colorectal cancer investigators presenting at the world’s premier societies and conferences.
  • Funding to support the nation’s only Summit focused on early age onset colorectal cancer.

 

How Can I Participate in the 2019 Colon Cancer Challenge?

 

There are numerous ways to show that you stand with colorectal cancer survivors and patients at the 2019 Colon Cancer Challenge. Our Two Mile Walk, 5K Run or Kids’ Fun Run offer a chance for the whole family to get involved. If you would like to volunteer, we have opportunities for all ages and groups. Please contact Marcline St. Germain, our volunteer coordinator, at 914.305.6674 or email at info@coloncancerchallenge.org. Additionally, you may download our Fundraising Toolkit to help raise money to support the Colon Cancer Foundation’s initiatives.

When it comes to protecting yourself against the second deadliest cancer, consider looking at your diet as a starting point. Colorectal cancer, which is the cancer of the large intestine, is expected to cause over 51,000 deaths during 2019. While early detection is a key component, consider talking to your doctor about these top colon cancer-fighting foods as well.

Top Colon Cancer Fighting Foods #1: Lean Meats
While heavily processed meats are not ideal for a colon cancer-fighting diet, lean meats–packed with protein–will help you stay healthy. Protein helps your cells repair themselves and also keep you full. Good sources of lean protein include salmon, turkey and pork chops. Make sure to trim the fats off of your meat, though.

Top Colon Cancer Fighting Foods #2: Dark Leafy Greens
Dark, leafy greens are a great source of fiber, which can help you fight most cancer. Spinach may also help keep your colon polyp-free due to its high amount of magnesium. Not a fan like Popeye the Sailor? You can also get magnesium from almonds, cashews or potatoes.

Top Colon Cancer Fighting Foods #3: Low-Sugar Fruit
Sugar often leads to inflammation, which may increase your odds of developing colorectal cancer. If you have a sweet tooth, switch out some of your high-sugar snacks for fruit instead. Low-sugar fruits include peaches, melons, strawberries, oranges and grapefruit. Pack some fruit in your bag to keep you snacking on colon-friendly foods all day.

Top Colon Cancer Fighting Foods #4: Greek Yogurt
Minimally processed dairy, such as Greek yogurt, contain great sources of calcium and protein. The probiotics in Greek yogurt also pack a great punch for keeping your digestive system healthy. Probiotics help you balance the “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut. Mix your yogurt together with low-sugar fruit in the morning to keep your colon cancer-fighting diet on track.

Top Colon Cancer Fighting Foods #6: Water
Last, but not least: water. Make sure to stay hydrated when you consume the top colon cancer-fighting foods. Water helps aid digestion and can minimize common colorectal cancer side effects, such as constipation.

While the death rate of colorectal cancer is steadily decreasing due to public awareness, we still have a long way to go regarding the fight to eradicate the disease. Join the Colon Cancer Foundation at our 2019 Colon Cancer Challenge to get involved and show your support for the colorectal cancer community, including the one million survivors of colorectal cancer.

Congratulations to the members of Team Colon Cancer Challenge who conquered the TCS NYC Marathon this year! We are so grateful for the incredible spirit and fundraising efforts put forth by this team. Together, our team blazed past our fundraising goal to surpass $107,000! And every single member crossed the finish line on November 4.

On Marathon Eve, CCF hosted a team dinner at Covina. It was a wonderful evening of conversation and carbohydrates. Team members got the chance to meet each other and connect with CCF staff and our founder, Dr. Thomas Weber. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend!

Our international team came together from Hong Kong, Paris, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and other corners of the country and the world – including, of course, NYC. This diverse group of runners comprised a colorectal cancer surgeon, children of survivors, and other relatives and caregivers of survivors and those who lost their fight. Hearing our runners’ stories (check them out on our Crowdrise site) reminds us all that we are a long way from the finish line in the battle against colorectal cancer. But we cannot let ourselves hit the wall at mile 20. We must keep going.

Events like the NYC Marathon are critical to achieving our annual fundraising goals so we are able to continue such important initiatives as our Annual Early-Age Onset Colorectal Cancer Summit. Through the Summit we are able to support and share the latest research into the causes and treatment of colorectal cancer. We WILL get to the bottom of this (so to speak) and we are proud to have such incredible athletes and advocates on our side.

Interested in joining Team Colon Cancer Challenge? Check out our events page for information about the 2019 NYC Half Marathon, as well as other upcoming events. Like to spin? Join us and our Young Leadership Board on December 2 for the Ride for Research at Swerve!

Many thanks again to our incredible 2018 TCS NYC Marathon team. We hope you enjoy a well-deserved Thanksgiving feast this year!

With Mother’s Day around the corner, we are humbled to share the stories of some of the incredible moms in our survivor community.

Too many women – mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers – are being diagnosed with this disease, and not all stories end in survivorship. Colorectal cancer does not discriminate. It is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women. This year alone will witness approximately 70,000 newly diagnosed cases of colon and rectal cancers in women. And the number of these cases in both women and men under age 50 is growing.

Women who are in the prime years of motherhood are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer at a rate that is increasing every year. Through our Annual Early-Age Onset Colorectal Cancer Summit, we are working with the world’s leading researchers and physicians to combat this alarming trend. But there is so much more work to be done.

In anticipation of Mother’s Day this year, we hope you will read Gina’s inspiring story below and consider a donation – in honor of Gina or in honor or someone you know and love who has been affected by this terrible disease. Together we can ensure that Mother’s Day remains a happy holiday for generations to come.

Here is Gina’s story of how her battle with colon cancer has shifted her perspective on motherhood.

GINA NERI

Gina Neri, stage 3b colon cancer survivor and mother of three

Gina’s children: Aiden, Dylan, and Gianna Hope

I was diagnosed with Stage 3b colon cancer at the age of 39.  I was feeling great but bled rectally once and presented to my doctor to get checked out.  That week, I learned I was pregnant with my third child and that I had colon cancer.  It was the scariest week of my life.  The first thought that crossed my mind was if I die, my children will have to grow up without a mother.  It was devastating to think I wouldn’t be there for them and that they would be hurt and sad.   I didn’t think I could love my children any more, until I was diagnosed with colon cancer.  My love grew from the second I was diagnosed and every day during my battle.  The love I had for my children gave me strength to fight and to live another day.  I cherished my children before I was diagnosed with colon cancer, but my love and bond is so much greater now!   

I am a stronger person and mother now.  Being a survivor gave me a better appreciation for life and more perspective on what’s really important in life.  
To make a donation in honor of Gina or a spectacular survivor in your life, click here.

The 4th Annual Early-Age Onset Colorectal Cancer (EAO CRC) Summit will be held this Thursday and Friday, April 26-27, in New York City. This singular, collaborative event brings together the top researchers, physicians, geneticists, and other professionals with a passionate and motivated group of EAO-CRC survivors, caregivers, and advocates. This year the Summit will be tackling the biggest question facing anyone who has been touched by early onset of this disease: WHY. Why are CRC incidence rates in young people, from teenage to under age 50, increasing so dramatically? What does the latest research tell us? We will find out!

Rebecca Siegel, MPH

One of this year’s speakers is Rebecca Siegel, MPH. Rebecca is the Strategic Director of Surveillance Information Services at the American Cancer Society. She has authored several published articles on cancer statistics and EAO CRC. In anticipation of this year’s Summit, Rebecca answered some burning questions for us.

Colon Cancer Foundation (CCF): This is your first appearance at the EAO-CRC Summit since the publication of your landmark study, Colorectal Cancer Incidence Patterns in the United States, 1974-2013. Why is participating in this Summit important to you? What sets this event apart from others you have attended?

Rebecca Siegel (RS): Most of the time, it is easy to explain why a particular cancer rate is increasing or decreasing. However, this is not the case for the rise in EO CRC. Obesity increases the risk of CRC and the epidemic has likely contributed to the trend, but much of the data suggest that other, unknown factors are at play. This meeting is exciting because it not only brings together experts on topics from environmental carcinogens to molecular genetics, but also includes young onset CRC survivors, who have their own unique perspective. It will be a brainstorming session with all of the key stakeholders to help generate ideas for how we can go about solving this mystery.

CCF: When your study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute last year, there was quite a bit of press including an article in the New York Times by Roni Rabin highlighting the stories of some young CRC survivors. What impact do you think your research has had, and what impact has the response to your study had on you?

RS: I think that all of the publicity has helped to increase awareness of the trend, and the fact that although cancer is rare in young adults, it does happen. Almost 30% of patients diagnosed with rectal cancer are 20-54 years of age. And too many of these patients experience delays in diagnosis that reduce their treatment options and likelihood of survival. They, nor their doctors, are considering the possibility of cancer even with the most common symptoms, like persistent rectal bleeding and abdominal pain, because it is rare. But because of that, patients under 50 are much more likely to be diagnosed with disease that has spread beyond the colon or rectum than those who are older. I cannot express how gratifying it is to read some of the comments on Roni Rabin’s Times article and realize that a young person was diagnosed earlier because they read that story.

CCF: Can you tell us any tidbits from your upcoming presentation? How has your research progressed over the last year?

RS: We are looking at the data from different angles to try to uncover more clues about what might be causing the trend, but unfortunately I don’t have any results to share at this time.

CCF: In addition to the EAO-CRC Summit, what else do we need to do to address this urgent issue?

RS: Additional research is needed to identify currently unknown factors that may increase CRC risk, as well as the influence of known risk factors, like an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle, on children, adolescents, and young adults. Exposures happen 10-20 years before cancer is diagnosed, and almost everything we currently know about CRC risk factors is based on people diagnosed in their 60s and 70s.

For more information about the 4th Annual EAO-CRC Summit and to register, click here.

The statistics are scary. While rates of colorectal cancer in adults over age 50 have been decreasing steadily over the years, colorectal cancer is rising fast among the young – even affecting teenagers.

According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a person born in 1990 has twice the risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer than a person born in 1950 faced at a comparable age. The risk of rectal cancer? It’s four times higher.

Today, one in ten people diagnosed with colorectal cancer will be under the age of 50, about 13,500 cases annually. Because screening does not begin until age 50 for those with no family history of the disease, many of these early-age onset cases are late stage diagnoses and that much harder to treat.

Why is this happening? While there are obvious potential factors, the answer to “why” is phenomenally tricky to pin-point. But rest assured that some of the best physicians and researchers in the world are hard at work trying to put together the pieces of this complex puzzle. Many of these brilliant minds will be sharing their latest research and scientific breakthroughs the 4th Annual Early-Age Onset Colorectal Cancer (EAO-CRC) Summit in New York City this month. This singular event, founded and run by the Colon Cancer Foundation, brings together leading physicians and researchers with survivors, caregivers, and advocates in a uniquely interactive two-day course that will tackle the question of “why” head-on.

One of the myriad issues surrounding the alarming rise in EAO colorectal cancer cases is that of communication. Young people – and their physicians – simply aren’t talking enough about this disease! Their remains a stigma attached to colorectal cancer: that it is an “old man’s disease.” New research shows that this could not be farther from the truth. Colorectal cancer does not discriminate, and we need to start talking about it.

Fortunately, the EAO-CRC survivor community is full of passionate and determined people who are raising awareness by sharing their remarkable stories. One of these advocates is Stacy Hurt, Strategic Partnership Manager at the Colon Cancer Coalition. Here, Stacy tells her story and makes the case for the necessity of earlier conversations about this disease.

Colon Cancer Foundation (CCF): Tell us about your diagnosis.

Stacy Hurt (SH): I was diagnosed on my 44th birthday (September 17th, 2014) with Stage IV rectal cancer. A colonoscopy revealed an 11cm tumor in my rectum so large that the GI could not get the scope around it to view the rest of my colon.  He aborted the procedure and sent me for a PET/CT scan that revealed very aggressive cancer in my liver, both lungs, and lymph nodes; 27 places in total. The oncologist at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center was “hoping that I would just get a little bit of time with my family.” Chances of beating it were slim to none. After 55 chemotherapies, 2 surgeries, and SBRT radiation, I am NED (“no evidence of disease”).

CCF: Did you have symptoms that went unchecked or ignored by your physicians because of your young age?

SH: No – it was actually ME who ignored my symptoms. I had no history of colon cancer in my family. I am a lifelong athlete, very fit, non-smoker, with an overall healthy lifestyle. There was no reason to think that I would have cancer, yet alone colon cancer, which I thought was an “old man’s, obese person’s disease.” I just thought that the bright red blood in my stool was from internal hemorrhoids. With two young children (one of whom is severely disabled) and a robust career, going to the doctor was an inconvenience. My abdominal pain and fatigue became too much to bear, so I finally went. I am grateful for a thorough PCP who sent me for a colonoscopy. Colorectal cancer was the last thing anyone ever expected.

CCF: What will you tell your children, and when, about knowing the signs and symptoms of EAO-CRC?

SH: I was honest with my children from Day One of my diagnosis (even though my special needs son doesn’t understand). I have spoken at my older son’s middle school (grades 6, 7, and 8) about being in tune with your body and telling your parents or your doctor if ANYTHING is abnormal with your body; even if it’s something that you may be ashamed to talk about, like poop. Poop is as natural a part of your body as blood, and it tells a lot about how your body is functioning.

CCF: What do you think is the best way for CCF, CURE, and other organizations in this space to spread the word about EAO-CRC?

SH: We need to go where young adults are (on social media, college campuses, technology-oriented workplaces) and get a message out there.  Young people in general think they are invincible. I certainly did. I was in the prime of my life enjoying my family and my career. We all need to slow down, get OFF of our devices, and get ON to healthy habits. We have one body – we should do EVERYTHING we can to identify our risk factors of CRC and take charge of the ones we can control. And for people like me who were doing all of that and still got CRC, do NOT view a trip to the doctor as an “inconvenience” – view it as a once a year “tune up” for another 50,000 miles of enjoying life! One hour out of your day to see the doctor sure beats countless hours of chemotherapy, surgeries, pain, recovery, hospital stays, infection, tears, and turmoil.

Stacy Hurt, Stage IV rectal cancer survivor

For more information about the 4th Annual EAO-CRC Summit and to register:

http://www.coloncancerchallenge.org/about/eao-crc/

https://www.curetoday.com/advocacy/coloncancerchallenge/upcoming-conference-discusses-colon-cancer-in-young-adults