TRICARE and You: Colorectal Cancer Awareness

This blog is the most recent in a series helping members of the Coast Guard family understand how to use their TRICARE benefits.

Chief Petty Officer Erin Hunter, an independent-duty health services technician aboard Coast Guard Cutter Healy, has her portrait taken in the cutter's sick bay Aug. 19, 2015, while underway in support of the Geotraces mission. Geotraces is Healy's second science mission of the summer, and is an international effort to study the distribution of trace elements in the world's oceans. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory J. Mendenhall)

Colorectal Cancer Awareness

Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year, approximately 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it. This disease is highly preventable.

Screening tests help prevent colorectal cancer by finding precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) so they can be removed. Screening also finds this cancer early, when treatment can be most effective. 

If you are age 50 or older, get screened for colorectal cancer regularly. In addition to screening, keeping active, maintaining a healthy weight and diet, limiting alcohol consumption and refraining from smoking are important to your general well-being and may reduce the risk of cancer.

People at increased risk for colorectal cancer may need earlier or more frequent tests than other people. Talk to your doctor about when to begin screening, which test is right for you and how often you should be tested.


    • Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States.
    • Risk of colorectal cancer increases with age.
    • If you have first degree relatives (father, mother, etc.) with a history of colorectal cancer, you are at increased risk.
    • It is estimated that between 60 and 90 percent of colon cancer deaths could be prevented if everyone over 50 received proper screening.
    • Talk with your doctor about which screening tests are right for you.



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