Preventing Colorectal Cancer is Easy

Consider Life-Saving Screening Options  

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States for men and women combined. Every year, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it. “This disease is highly preventable by getting screened beginning at age 50,” said James Spencer, MD, ThedaCare Physicians-Waupaca. “Those under 50, with a family history of the disease, should also be screened.”  

Regular screening tests help prevent colorectal cancer by finding precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) so they can be removed. “Screening also find this cancer early, when treatment can be most effective,” said Dr. Spencer. Other ways to prevent colorectal cancer:

  • Be physically active.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol.
  • Don’t smoke.  

The risk for colorectal cancer increases with age. “You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it,” said Dr. Spencer. “That is why having a screening test is so important. Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first.” Contact your doctor if you have the following symptoms:

  • 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.  

Screening tests include:

  • Colonoscopy (every 10 years).
  • High-sensitivity fecal occult blood test, stool test, or fecal immunochemical test (every year).
  • Sigmoidoscopy (every 5 years, with fecal occult blood test, every three years).  

For more than 100 years, ThedaCare™ has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,800 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 34 clinics in 14 counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.  ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton opened in February. For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.