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Home News Colorectal Cancer Risk Increases with Age; Early Detection a Lifesaver
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

Colorectal Cancer Risk Increases with Age; Early Detection a Lifesaver

This page on the Centers for Disease Control website helps states and tribes across the United States increase colorectal cancer screening rates among men and women aged 50 years and older.Colorectal cancer a common and deadly form of cancer in New Mexico

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) recognizes March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The cancer, diagnosed in the colon or rectum, affects both men and women, leading to approximately 800 new cases of colorectal cancer being diagnosed in New Mexico every year.

NMDOH’s Comprehensive Cancer Program reports that among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is our state’s second most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death. It causes over 300 deaths in New Mexico annually, accounting for nearly ten percent of the state’s overall cancer deaths.

"People tend to be scared to get screened, but it’s scarier to wait too long and have a tumor that the doctor can’t remove," said Department of Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel. “Fewer people would suffer from colorectal cancer in New Mexico if only more residents would start getting screened beginning no later than age 50.”

Colorectal cancer screening is very effective because it can save lives in two ways.  The screening tests can prevent colorectal cancer by finding precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) that can be removed before cancer ever develops. Screening also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment is most effective. Several types of screening tests exist that can reduce deaths from colorectal cancer. Talk to your doctor about which test or tests are right for you and how often you should be screened. 

Regular screening is recommended for most men and women between the ages of 50 and 75, but that recommendation can change based on family history or pre-existing medical conditions, leading your doctor to advise starting screening at a younger age.  Your risk for colorectal cancer may be higher than average if:

  • You or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
  • You have inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis.
  • You have a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer.

With more than 90% of cases occurring in men and women who are aged 50 and older, increasing age is the most significant risk factor in the development of colorectal cancer. However, there are ways to reduce your risk of developing the disease including avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and getting at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it, which is why screening is so important. Some symptoms of colorectal cancer 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.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. They may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor. 

For more information about colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor or health care provider or visit the CDC Colorectal (Colon) Cancer page.

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We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

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Aumentan con la Edad los Riesgos de Cáncer de Colon; la Detección Temprana un Salvavidas