Bowel Cancer Screening

Screening is a method of checking healthy people to see if they have any indications of cancer. Screening for bowel cancer can save lives. Screening is intended to discover bowel cancer at an early stage, when treatment has the best chance of being effective.

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Colorectal cancer (CRC), also known as bowel cancer, is the development of cancer from the colon or rectum, due to the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body.

Signs and symptoms may include blood in the stool, a change in bowel movements, weight loss, and feeling tired all the time.

Most colorectal cancers are due to old age and lifestyle factors with only a small number of cases due to underlying genetic disorders.

Another risk factor is inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Some of the inherited genetic disorders that can cause colorectal cancer include familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer; however, these represent less than 5% of cases. It typically starts as a benign tumor, often in the form of a polyp, which over time becomes cancerous.

Bowel cancer may be diagnosed by obtaining a colonoscopy.

  • Men and women age 50 or older

  • Family history of colorectal cancer, or adenomas at any age

  • Cancer of endometrium (uterus)

Persons who have had colorectal cancer or adenomas removed are at increased risk of developing additional adenomas or cancers.

Women diagnosed with uterine or ovarian cancer before age 50

Weight: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of colorectal cancer in both men and women, but the link seems to be stronger in men.

Diet: Many studies have found a link between red meats (beef, and lamb) or processed meats (such as hot dogs, sausage, and lunch meats) increased colorectal cancer risk.

Alcohol: Several studies have found a higher risk of colorectal cancer with increased alcohol intake, especially among men.