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The Bottom Line of Colorectal Cancer in Ohio

The news reports clearly state that colorectal cancer (CRC) is being diagnosed more frequently at younger ages than ever before. Damey and I have known seniors with the disease, and it’s not a pleasant condition with which to deal.

In consideration of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, CBS News recently reported that CRC is the third most common form of cancer in the United States and the third leading cause of death among Americans, so I decided to do a deep dive into the bottom line of colorectal cancer in Ohio.

Based on statistics provided by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), 90% of CRCs occurred in Ohioans ages 50 and older from 2012-2016. An average of 5,280 cases of CRC were diagnosed each of those years in Ohio.

The CRC incidence rate was 30% higher among men than women in Ohio during that same time period, and the death rate was 20% higher among African Americans than Caucasian Americans.

Fortunately, the ODH reports that over a period of 20 years (1997-2017), CRC death rates declined by 38%. This is due in large part to CRC screenings and early detection.

“Screening can find precancerous polyps, which can be removed before they turn into cancer, as well as find CRC early when treatment works best,” ODH says.

Screening tests that can identify if and where polyps are located include stool tests and visual exams. Stool tests can be done at home or in a medical facility. Visual tests are colonoscopy, computed tomography (CT), colonography (virtual colonoscopy), or flexible sigmoidoscopy, which are generally performed as outpatient procedures in a hospital.

“The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults aged 50-75 be screened. The American Cancer Society now recommends screening as early as age 45,” according to ODH, especially if there is a family history including CRC.

The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery (ASCRS) explains, “Colorectal cancer is preventable and highly curable if detected in early stages. The colon and rectum make up your large intestine. Colorectal cancers usually begin as a growth (polyp) on the inner lining of the large intestine. The exact cause of colorectal cancer is unknown. However, the understanding of certain genetic causes continues to increase.”

Aside from genetic concerns, the risk factors for CRC include:

  • Age (90% are over the age of 50)
  • Personal history of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis for more than 8 years
  • Personal and family history of colorectal polyps
  • Personal history of breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer

Symptoms of CRC include:

  • A change in bowel habits: constipation, diarrhea, or more frequent bowel movements
  • Narrow/smaller shaped stools
  • Bright red or very dark blood in the stool
  • Ongoing abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constant fatigue or tiredness

“Abdominal pain and weight loss are typically late symptoms, indicating possible extensive disease. Anyone who experiences any of the above symptoms should see a physician as soon as possible,” says the ASCRS.

The main takeaway I have from these stats and this information is that early detection of CRC is the key to a successful outcome. If you are at risk of developing CRC due to any of the risk factors listed above, you are experiencing symptoms of CRC, or you have a loved one who is, a Home Helpers® caregiver can provide transportation assistance to and from doctor appointments and CRC screenings. Additionally, a professional caregiver can help with colonoscopy preps and deliver any necessary support through a variety of in-home care services to help make life easier!

We are happy to schedule a FREE consultation at your convenience to assess specific needs and determine specific ways we can help you or your loved one! 330.892.9329

Home Helpers® Canton, OH, is Veteran-owned and operated. We are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award, the Shooting Star Award (2011), and multiple Platinum awards for the superior level of care we provide. We are Certified Senior Advisors and members of the Home Care Association of America, Alzheimer’s Association, and the International Franchise Association. In addition, we were ranked in the Top 500 Franchises by Entrepreneur Magazine in 2019.

Home Helpers® Canton proudly serves male and female seniors in Stark County, Portage County, and portions of Summit County including the communities of Akron, Alliance, Canton, East Sparta, Hartville, Jackson, Massillon, Navarre, North Canton, Randolph, and surrounding areas.


Ohio Department of Health

American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery