The right knowledge and screening can be lifesavers for colorectal cancer patients and those at high risk. While overall incidence of colorectal cancer is going down across the country, cases are increasing in Americans over age 50. To reverse that trend &mdash; and build on the progress being made in older populations &mdash; Ohio State oncologists are encouraging everyone to learn the signs of colorectal cancer, and to take steps to reduce risk while raising the chance of early detection. &ldquo;The good news is staying on top of symptoms and getting screened earlier at appropriate ages can help prevent developing cancer,&rdquo; Matt Kalady, MD, says. Although colorectal cancer can often develop without early symptoms &mdash; underscoring the importance of screening, including colonoscopy &mdash; there are some signs that should lead people to consult their doctors, according to Kalady. &ldquo;Any kind of persistent bleeding or persistent symptoms need to get evaluated,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Other symptoms include changes in your bowel habits &mdash; if you&rsquo;re having constipation or diarrhea, or you notice other changes in the caliber and consistency of your stools.&rdquo; Of course, it&rsquo;s best to avoid colorectal cancer altogether when possible, which is why Kalady and other experts encourage education on possible risk factors, including genetic factors and lifestyle choices. &ldquo;Genetics and family history play a huge role in colorectal cancer,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;There are also a lot of theories about things that we eat things and the bacteria that are in our colon and rectum in our digestive tract in general, along with a lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyles.&rdquo; More about gastrointestinal cancers The world-renowned experts at the OSUCCC &ndash; James are transforming the way gastrointestinal cancers are prevented, detected, treated and cured. Today, cancer is no longer solely defined by location or even by stage. We know there is no routine cancer, and there are no routine gastrointestinal cancers. Gastrointestinal cancers are complex diseases. Each patient&rsquo;s cancer is different, behaving differently in the bodies they&rsquo;re in and calling for a tailored, individualized treatment plan for each patient. To deliver the most effective gastrointestinal cancer detection and treatment, our nationally renowned experts identify and understand cancer at the biologic and genetic levels, unlocking the molecular code of a patient&rsquo;s disease and pinpointing what makes each cancer grow &mdash; then discovering what stops it. Our team of gastrointestinal cancer subspecialists spans a broad range of disciplines: from medical, surgical and radiation oncologists to molecular and biological pathologists, genetic scientists and more &mdash; all specializing in a particular type of gastrointestinal cancer (and only that gastrointestinal cancer) research, prevention, detection, treatment and cure. It&rsquo;s that subspecialization and singular focus that enable us to discover, develop and deliver the most targeted therapies for each individual gastrointestinal cancer patient. And that means our collective expertise leads to improved outcomes, faster responses, fewer side effects and more hope for cancer patients everywhere. Learn more about colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers, along with treatment options at The James.