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Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month


Colorectal cancer, which affects the colon or rectum, kills over 50,000 people a year, and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States among cancers that affect both men and women.  140,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease every year, 90% of whom are age 50 or older.   Death from the disease is 90% preventable, however, if detected and treated early.


Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month was established by President Clinton in February, 2000 to spread awareness about the disease, to raise funds for a cure, and to encourage people over the age of 50 to get a screening test for colorectal cancer.  According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, "Every year, thousands of patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates throughout the country join together to spread colon cancer awareness by wearing blue, holding fundraising and education events, talking to friends and family about screening and so much more."


A screening test can identify precancerous polyps that need to be removed before they become cancerous, and can detect colorectal cancer in its early stages, when treatment is more effective.  The screening tests most widely recommended include a colonoscopy, a high sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT), and a sigmoidoscopy.


The symptoms of colorectal cancer, according to the Centers for DIsease Control, include:

  • Blood in or on the stool (bowel movement).
  • Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away.
  • Losing weight and you don't know why.


In this PSA, actor and long-time advocate Terrence Howard urges people talk to those they love about screening for Colorectal Cancer:


See our media gallery to learn more about colorectal cancer diagnosis, screening, treatment, and prevention from organizations working to treat and prevent the disease.