Submitted by Central Michigan District Health Department

REED CITY — Although colorectal cancer can be a potential life-threatening disease, the Central Michigan District Health Department says it is is preventable with early detection.

“Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States," said Dr. Jennifer Morse, CMDHD medical director.

Each year, up to 50,000 people die from the disease, the doctor said.

“However, it is a preventable and very curable disease if caught early,” she said.

Because there are often no symptoms when it is first developing, colorectal cancer can only be detected through regular early screening.

“The benefits of early detection and treatment are dramatic,” Morse said.

People between the age of 50 to 64, having a family history of colorectal cancer, colon polyps, inflammatory bowel disease and having Crohn’s disease are among some of the factors that create a higher risk for colorectal cancer. All men and women of average risk for colorectal cancer should have regular colorectal cancer screening starting at the age of 50. A primary care physician may recommend earlier screening if an individual has one or more risk factors.

Morse explained that in addition to getting screened regularly for colorectal cancer, people can lower their risk of getting the disease by:

  • Avoiding foods that are high in fat and limiting consumption of red meat;
  • Eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and other high-fiber foods;
  • Exercising regularly and maintaining a normal body weight;
  • Not smoking; and
  • Drinking alcohol only in moderation.

CMDHD has two office locations in Osceola County.

The Reed City office, located at 22054 Professional Dr., Suite D, is open from 8:30 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4:30 p.m., every week day. Contact the Reed City location by calling (231) 832-5532.

A second CMDHD location serves the Marion area. Located at 107 E. Main St., the office is only open on Thursday, from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. For more information about the Marion office, call (231) 743-9877.

For more information on colorectal cancer prevention and screening, visit cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer or www.cdc.gov/cancer.