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Early Detection Key in Beating Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer a common and deadly form of cancer in New Mexico

By New Mexico Department of Health 

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) recognizes March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The cancer, diagnosed in the colon or rectum, can affect 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 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.

“Colorectal cancer is one of the most common and most deadly cancers, but it doesn’t have to be,” said Department of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher. “It’s not always an easy subject to bring up, let alone get tested for it. But this disease is highly preventable if only more New Mexicans would start getting screened beginning at age 50.”

Regular screening is recommended for most men and women between the ages of 50 and 85, 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.

Lifestyle factors that may contribute to an increased risk of colorectal cancer such as lack of regular physical activity, a diet low in fiber or fruit and vegetables as well as being overweight, smoking or drinking too much alcohol.

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 https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/index.htm.

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