The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted the healthcare industry in more ways than one, including leaving lasting gaps in important annual preventative care practices, like cancer screenings.
Did you know colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among Americans? While it can affect anyone, there are groups of people who are at a higher risk and should be screened regularly.
To help you take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when routine screenings may be less accessible to some, we broke down everything you need to know about colon cancer, risk factors, and why regular screenings are more important than ever.
Are you or a loved one age 45 or older and interested in preventative colon cancer screening? Learn more about our non-invasive FIT Colon Cancer Screening Test, which allows you to collect your sample at home, send it to one of our CLIA-certified lab partners for testing, and receive your digital results in days.
It has now been over a year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and while many temporary shifts in society are slowly returning to “normal” as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, most people’s year-long stint at home has caused a break in important preventative care measures.
A recent study found that primary care visits declined by 60 percent by the end of 2020. While delaying check-ups and annual visits may have been necessary at the height of the pandemic, continuing to miss important screening dates and health visits can have long-term consequences, especially for groups with a higher risk for certain cancers and diseases.
Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in American adults, and the American Cancer Society estimates the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States for 2021 will near 150,000 cases. With many colon cancer screenings having fallen short last year, it’s important to get back on track and resume preventative health screenings as soon as possible in 2021.
Here’s why colon cancer screenings are more important than ever during the time of COVID-19:
Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer or rectal cancer, is the third most common cancer among both men and women in the U.S. It can start in the colon or the rectum, which is located at the digestive tract's lower end and can spread to other parts of the body when it is not detected and treated early. However, colon cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) that can be identified and removed before they turn into cancer using colon cancer screening technologies like a colonoscopy.
That’s why those who are at a higher risk for colon cancer should prioritize getting screened regularly.
While colorectal cancer does not always cause symptoms right away, it can cause one or more of the following symptoms:
Note: Keep in mind that any of the abovementioned symptoms could be linked to a number of other underlying health issues, and are not exclusively a sign of cancer. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult with your healthcare provider immediately.
While colon cancer can affect any demographic, some risk factors are more common than others. Here are some common colon cancer risk factors to be aware of:
Although colon cancer is one of the most common cancers among Americans, over the past 30 years, the rate of colorectal cancer cases has more than doubled among adults younger than age 50. Preventative screening methods like our at-home FIT Colon Cancer Screening Test screen for the presence of blood in your stool and help detect colon cancer early when it can be best treated.
Ranging from invasive to non-invasive, there are a number of screening options that can help detect colon cancer early:
Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) DNA
gFOBT Stool Test
Are you or a loved one age 45 or older, and interested in preventative colon cancer screening from home? Learn more about our FIT Colon Cancer Screening Test.
Because many of the screening methods, like colonoscopies, are performed at a clinic under the supervision of a health provider the COVID-19 pandemic has left many who would normally see their providers in person without the means to get screened. But regular screenings are important for finding and removing polyps that could later become cancerous as well as detecting colorectal cancer early so that it can be more effectively treated than later-stage cancer.
While visiting your healthcare provider may slowly become more accessible with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines, virtual and/or remote screenings options, like the Everlywell FIT Colon Cancer Screening Test, are available to help you continue to check on your health.