1

Colorectal cancer can be prevented.

The Correct Answer is True.

Even though we don't know the exact cause of most colorectal cancers, we do know it’s possible to prevent many colorectal cancers.

Regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful weapons for preventing colorectal cancer. Screening is the process of looking for cancer or pre-cancer in people who have no symptoms of the disease.

Regular screening can help prevent colorectal cancer by finding abnormal colon growths (called polyps) so they can be removed before they have a chance to turn into cancer.

You can also lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer by managing risk factors that you can control, like diet, weight, and physical activity.

2

Colorectal cancer isn’t a big problem in the US.

The Correct Answer is False.

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.

3

I only need to get tested for colorectal cancer if something seems wrong.

The Correct Answer is False.

It’s important to get tested for colorectal cancer even if you feel OK. Testing before you feel bad can help prevent the disease or find it early, when it’s easier to treat.

Most people with early colorectal cancer don’t have symptoms. But if you have any of the following, see a health care provider:

  • A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that’s not relieved by doing so
  • Rectal bleeding, dark stools, or blood in the stool (often, though, the stool will look normal)
  • Cramping or belly pain
  • Weakness and extreme tiredness that doesn’t get better with rest
  • Unintended weight loss

Most of these symptoms are more often caused by other conditions, such as infection, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, or inflammatory bowel disease, not colorectal cancer. Still, if you have any of these problems, it’s important to see a health care provider right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.

4

Lifestyle choices, like alcohol use, exercise, and smoking, have an impact on colorectal cancer risk.

The Correct Answer is True.

Colorectal cancer has been linked to the heavy use of alcohol. Alcohol use should be limited to no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.

If you are not physically active, you have a greater chance of developing colorectal cancer. Increasing activity may help reduce your risk.

Long-term smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop and die from colorectal cancer. If you use any form of tobacco, stop! We can help.

Diet choices can also impact colorectal cancer risk. A diet that’s high in red meats (such as beef, lamb, or liver) and processed meats (hot dogs and some luncheon meats) can increase risk.

Cooking meats at very high temperatures (frying, broiling, or grilling) creates chemicals that might increase cancer risk, too, but it's not clear how much this might contribute to an increase in colorectal cancer risk. Diets high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains have been linked to a decreased risk of colorectal cancer.

5

Most people should start colorectal screening at age 50.

The Correct Answer is True.

People who have no identified risk factors (other than age) should begin regular screening at age 50. Those who have a family history of colorectal cancer or other risk factors for colorectal polyps or cancer should talk with a health care provider about starting screening when they are younger and/or getting screened more often.

6

Colonoscopy is the only test used to screen for colorectal cancer in people who have no symptoms of it.

The Correct Answer is False.

There are many tests that can look for colorectal cancer. Starting at age 50, both men and women at average risk for colorectal cancer should use one of the screening tests listed below. Tests that have the best chance of finding both polyps and cancer are preferred if these tests are available to you and you are willing to have them.

Tests that find polyps and cancer

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years*
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years
  • Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years*
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years*

Tests that mainly find cancer

  • Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every year*,**
  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year*,**
  • Stool DNA test (sDNA) every 3 years*

*Colonoscopy should be done if test results are positive.

**A highly sensitive, take-home multiple-sample method should be used. A gFOBT or FIT done during a digital rectal exam is not enough.

You answered out of 6 correctly.

We can help you learn the facts!

There’s more you need to know about colorectal cancer and what you can do to help prevent it. Check out our colorectal cancer information to learn more about this cancer, screening tests used for it, and what you can do to stay as healthy as possible. The most important thing for you to know is if you're age 50 or older you need to get regular colorectal cancer screening. Go to Colorectal Cancer: Early Detection for details on what you can do to help find this cancer early, and maybe even prevent it.

You answered out of 6 correctly.

Good job!

You’ve got a great start, but there are still some myths clouding your knowledge, and some facts you may not be aware of. Check the links in the answers you got wrong – they can take you right to the information you need. Check out our colorectal cancer information, too, to learn more about this cancer, screening for it, and what you can do to stay as healthy as possible. And remember that the most important thing you can do to fight this cancer is get regular colorectal cancer screening if you are age 50 or older. Go to Colorectal Cancer: Early Detection for details on what you can do to help find this cancer early, and maybe even prevent it.

You answered out of 6 correctly.

You have a strong understanding of colorectal cancer!

Congratulations! There’s always more to learn, so check out our colorectal cancer information to find out more about this cancer, screening for it, and what you can do to stay as healthy as possible. And don’t forget that the most important thing you can do to fight colorectal cancer is get regular screening if you are age 50 or older. Go to Colorectal Cancer: Early Detection for details on what you can do to help find this cancer early, and maybe even prevent it.