With the proper screening, you could avoid colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, many people avoid or delay screenings because they are unsure about what to expect or are afraid that the screening might be harsh or painful. The American Cancer Society reports that regular screening is one of the most powerful weapons for preventing colon cancer.
Screening can identify colon cancer or rectal cancer early when it is easier to treat, or even prevent it altogether. If polyps are found during routine screenings, they can usually be removed before turning into cancer. If they are cancerous they can be treated at the early stages.
Possible symptoms of colorectal cancer include:
- 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 is not relieved by doing so
- Rectal bleeding, dark stools, or blood in the stool
- Persistent cramping or stomach pain
If you experience any of these symptoms you should talk with your primary care provider right away.
TRICARE covers colorectal cancer exams based on certain criteria. Visit the Colorectal Cancer Exams page to learn about the type of care available to you and your family.