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Health Bulletin Winter 2014

Colorectal Cancer: the Second Deadliest Cancer in the U.S.
What is colorectal cancer?

"Colorectal" refers to the colon and rectum (the two parts of the large intestine). Colorectal cancer can start anywhere in the large intestine as polyps (abnormal growths). Polyps can become cancer over time.

What causes it, and who is at risk?
The cause of most colorectal cancer is not known.

These things may increase your risk of getting it:
  • Older age (the older your age, the higher your risk).
  • A personal or family history of colorectal polyps or cancer.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease).
  • Certain genetic syndromes like FAP (familial adenomatous polyposis) or Lynch Syndrome.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms may include:
  • Blood in your stool
  • Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that don't go away
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you have any of these risks or symptoms, talk to your doctor.

NOTE: Many people with colorectal cancer have NO SYMPTOMS.

How can I reduce my risk?

The best way to lower your risk is to have regular colorectal cancer screening tests starting at age 50. These tests can find polyps, which can be removed before they turn into cancer.

More information

What is norovirus?

Norovirus is a germ that is a common cause of gastroenteritis.

Typical symptoms:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramping
Other possible symptoms:
  • Low-grade fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
If you have norovirus, STAY HOME and drink plenty of liquids.
How is it spread?
Norovirus is VERY contagious. It is found in the stool or vomit of infected people. You can get infected with norovirus by...
  • Eating or drinking things that have norovirus on or in them.
  • Touching your mouth after touching contaminated objects.
  • Having direct contact with an infected person (for example, sharing food or eating utensils with someone who has it).
In general, children with norovirus have more vomiting than adults with the virus. In most people, symptoms last about 1 or 2 days.
Tips to prevent norovirus
  • Wash your hands often, especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers, before eating or preparing food, and after touching public surfaces like handrails and doorknobs.
  • If you do not have soap, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Thoroughly clean contaminated surfaces with a bleach-based cleaner.
  • Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables.
  • Wash contaminated clothing, bedding and rags with soap and hot water.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

SAD is a type of depression that affects you during the same season each year. If you get depressed in winter but feel a lot better in spring and summer, you may have SAD.

If you have SAD, you may:
  • Feel sad, grumpy, moody, or anxious.
  • Sleep more and feel drowsy during the day.
  • Lose interest in your usual activities.
  • Eat more and crave carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta.
  • Gain weight.
Contact your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
For most people with SAD, symptoms start in September or October and end in April or May each year.

What can help: Get outside each day for at least a short time in winter, especially on sunny days!