colon cancer awareness puzzle

March is colon cancer awareness month. How aware are you? Do you know how to prevent colorectal cancer? When to start screening for colorectal cancer? Do you know the symptoms of colorectal cancer?  What about the people and organizations helping to spread awareness about colorectal cancer?

This colon cancer awareness puzzle gives you a fun and comprehensive look at colorectal cancer. Solve the entire puzzle or some of it. Share it.

Colon Cancer Awareness Puzzle

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Colon Cancer Awareness Puzzle Solution

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Explanation of the answers. Why the words and names were chosen.


  • 1 remove polyp: POLYPECTOMY. This is actually how colonoscopy prevents colorectal cancer. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012, removal of polyps during colonoscopy led to a 53% reduction in colorectal cancer death.
  • 3 operates: SURGEON. A surgeon particularly a colorectal surgeon performs surgery to remove colon cancer.
  • 5 one sample: FIT. The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is a screening test for colorectal cancer. It  detects human blood in the stool. It requires only 1 sample. Food and medicines do not interfere with the test. The test must be done every year to screen for colorectal cancer.
  • 9 cancer drug: CHEMOTHERAPY. These are drugs used to treat colorectal cancer. Different chemotherapy regimen exist for colorectal cancer such as FOLFOX, FOLFIRI, CAPOX and FOLFOXIRI.
  • 10 unintentional: WEIGHT LOSS. Unintentional weight loss can be a symptom of colorectal cancer. Weight loss is also a prognostic factor. People with weight loss have worse outcome.
  • 12 45 or 50: START. An average risk person should start screening for colorectal cancer at age 45 or 50. According to the US Preventative Services Task Force, it is age 50. Per the American College of Gastroenterology, it is age 50 for everyone except African Americans who should start at age 45. The American Cancer Society recommends that average risk individuals should start screening at age 45.
  • 13 “ouch”: PAIN. Belly pain can be a symptom of colorectal cancer.
  • 14 “tear down this wall”: REAGAN. On July 13 1985, President Ronald Reagan underwent surgery to remove a cancerous polyp in his colon.  Reagan delivered a speech on June 12, 1987 in which he called on Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union to “tear down this wall” between East and West Berlin.
  • 15 cleanse: BOWELPREP. Colonoscopy requires bowel prep to clean out the colon so that polyps can be found and removed. An adequate bowel prep is the key to a successful colonoscopy. BowelPrepGuide provides bowel prep and colonoscopy resources to patients.
  • 17 5 feet long: COLON. The colon is about 5 feet long. It is also called the large bowel or large intestine. If you have a colon, you should get age appropriate screening for colorectal cancer.
  • 18 Undy RunWalk: ALLIANCE. Undy RunWalk is a family-friendly undy-themed RunWalk created by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. The goal to raise awareness about colorectal cancer as well as support patients, families, caregivers, and survivors.
  • 19 shared interest: CLUB. The Colon Club was founded in 2003 by Molly (McMaster) Morgoslepov and Hannah Vogler. Colon Club connects young adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer so that they don’t feel alone. The rate of colorectal cancer is rising in young people.
  • 21 Nancy Roach: FIGHT. Nancy Roach is a cancer survivor and advocate. She founded Fight Colorectal Cancer in 2005. Fight Colorectal Cancer is focused on colorectal cancer advocacy and research.
  • 26 ACG award: SCOPY. The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) launched the SCOPY Award (Service Award for Colorectal Cancer Outreach, Prevention and Year-Round Excellence) to recognize the achievements of ACG members in their community engagement, education, and awareness efforts for colorectal cancer prevention.
  • 28 TNM system: STAGE. The TNM system is a widely used cancer staging system. T stands for tumor size and extent. N stands for node (how many lymph nodes are involved). M stands for metastases. This is spread of cancer from the primary tumor to other parts of the body.
  • 30 cancer doc: ONCOLOGIST. An oncologist is a cancer specialist. A medical oncologist treats colorectal cancer using medications. The radiation oncologist treats colorectal cancer with radiation.
  • 31 clear sky: BLUE. The colorectal cancer awareness color is blue.
  • 32 avoid: PREVENT. You can prevent colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is preventable.
  • 33 – tree: FAMILY. Your family history determines your risk for colorectal cancer. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you need to start screening earlier.
  • 34 before anus: RECTUM. The rectum follows the sigmoid colon and ends at the anus. Rectal cancer increased by 3% per year for people in their 20s and 30s between the mid 1980s and 2013.
  • 36 stool DNA: COLOGUARD. This is one of the screening options for colorectal cancer. It is only for average risk individuals. Cologuard is recommended every 3 years if normal. If abnormal, a colonoscopy is warranted.
  • 38 BMI: OBESITY. Excess body weight is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. Obesity may be responsible for the rise of colorectal cancer in young people.
  • 41 trophy: LOMBARDI. The Vince Lombardi trophy goes to the winning team of the National Football League’s championship game, the Super Bowl. It is named in honor of NFL coach Vince Lombardi who died of colon cancer at the age of 57.
  • 43 none; 10 years: POLYP. If you have average risk for colorectal cancer and you don’t have polyps during colonoscopy, your next colonoscopy will be in 10 years.
  • 45 Kristin Lindquist: GYRIG. In 2004, Kristin Lindquist started the first Get Your Rear in Gear® run after losing her best friend and sister, Susie Lindquist Mjelde, to colon cancer. This effort led to the Colon Cancer Coalition.
  • 47 way of life: LIFESTYLE. Almost half (45%) of all colorectal cancer cases could be prevented through healthy lifestyle modifications. Healthy lifestyle factors are healthy weight, physical activity, nonsmoking, moderate alcohol intake and healthy diet.
  • 53 after heart disease: CANCER. After heart disease, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • 55 former speaker: TIP. Thomas Phillip “Tip” O’Neill is the only Speaker to serve for five complete consecutive congresses. Tip was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 1987.
  • 56 precancerous polyp: ADENOMA. An adenomatous polyp is a precancerous polyp. Removal of this kind of polyp prevents colorectal cancer. Patients who have had adenomatous polyps removed, need surveillance colonoscopy.
  • 57 Candace Henley: BLUEHATS. Candace Henley is the Founder and CEO of the Blue Hat Foundation. She was diagnosed in 2003 with colon cancer at age 36. Blue Hat Foundation promotes colorectal cancer awareness in minority and medically underserved communities.
  • 58 mediterranean: DIET. A healthy diet reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. Red meat and processed meat have been linked to colorectal cancer. A mediterranean diet reduces the risk of colorectal cancer.
  • 59 after polyp or cancer: SURVEILLANCE. Patients who have had colorectal cancer or polyps should have surveillance colonoscopies. These patients have high risk for polyps and cancer therefore regular colonoscopies are important.
  • 60 Reality TV: SURVIVOR. A survivor is someone who have survived colorectal cancer. Patients with stage I cancer are more likely to survive than those with stage IV cancer.
  • 61 Are you 21? ALCOHOL. Heavy alcohol intake have been linked to colorectal cancer.
  • 62 healthcare quarterback:PRIMARY. Healthcare quarterbacks are primary care physicians. They are often the ones that recommend colorectal cancer screening to patients.



  • 2 MSI or MSS: MICROSATELLITE. Colorectal cancers either show microsatellite instability or are microsatellite stable. MSI = Lynch syndrome or methylated tumor. If you have colorectal cancer, you should know your MSI status.
  • 4 King Arthur’s table: ROUNDTABLE. The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) was established by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1997. It is a coalition of public and private organizations as well as individuals. It’s mission is to reduce colorectal cancer in the U.S.
  • 5 tired: FATIGUE. Tiredness or fatigue can be a symptom of colorectal cancer.
  • 6 prevents colon cancer: SCREENING. Colorectal cancer is preventable. Get screened.
  • 7 Sarah Palin Interview: COURIC. Katie Couric’s husband (Jay Monahan) died of colon cancer at age 42. In March 2000, Katie Couric raised awareness about colorectal cancer by showing her colonoscopy on NBC’s The Today Show. After the show, the number of colonoscopies performed in the country increased by almost twenty percent. Researchers have called this the “Couric effect.”
  • 8 colonoscopy expert: GASTROENTEROLOGIST.  A gastroenterologist is a specialist with the most education and experience in performing colonoscopies. The GI physician is familiar with quality indicators for colonoscopy.
  • 11 gold standard: COLONOSCOPY. While several tests exist for screening for colorectal cancer, colonoscopy remains the gold standard. It is the cancer prevention test because it allows the removal of colon polyps before they grow into colon cancer.
  • 16 the public: SOCIETY. The American Cancer Society was founded in 1913 to raise awareness about cancer.
  • 20 red liquid: BLOOD. Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool can be a sign of colorectal cancer. If you have blood in your stool, see your doctor.
  • 22 tobacco: SMOKING. Tobacco has been linked to colorectal cancer.
  • 23 42nd: CLINTON. President Bill Clinton signed a White House Proclamation in 2000 officially designating March as colorectal cancer awareness month. .
  • 24 low hemoglobin: ANEMIA. Low hemoglobin or anemia can be a sign of colorectal cancer. If you have iron deficiency anemia, you probably need to see a gastroenterologist.
  • 25 watery: DIARRHEA. Change in bowel habits including diarrhea can be a symptom of colorectal cancer.
  • 27 remove colon: COLECTOMY. This is removal of a section of the colon by a surgeon. Early colorectal cancer can be treated by colectomy alone.
  • 29 physical activity:EXERCISE. Regular exercise alongside healthy diet can prevent colorectal cancer.
  • 33 three samples: FOBT. Guaiac fecal occult blood test uses a chemical to detect heme in stool. This test cannot distinguish human heme from other sources like red meat. Before the test, you need to stop red meat, certain fruits and vegetables like turnips, broccoli, horseradish, vitamin c, and NSAIDS.
  • 35 Pisces and Aries: MARCH. Colorectal cancer awareness month is March.
  • 37 prune juice: CONSTIPATION. Change in bowel habits including constipation can be a symptom of colorectal cancer.
  • half colonoscopy: SIGMOIDOSCOPY. Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a screening option for colorectal cancer. In the United States, colonoscopy has largely replaced sigmoidoscopy.
  • 40 many polyps: POLYPOSIS. This is the presence of many polyps in the colon. Patients with colon polyposis are more likely to develop colorectal cancer. Certain genes have been linked to polyposis and colorectal cancer.
  • immune system:
  • 44 HNPCC: LYNCH. HNPCC stands for hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer. This is also known as Lynch syndrome. It is the most common cause of inherited colon cancer. About 3 to 5 percent of all colorectal cancers are caused by Lynch syndrome.
  • 46 energy waves: RADIATION. Radiotherapy is a form of treatment for colorectal cancer.
  • 48 Jerry Seinfeld: STANDUP. Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) funds research that can lead to cure for cancer.
  • 49 to cut: SURGERY. Colorectal cancer can be treated with surgery to remove parts of the colon affected by colon cancer.
  • 50 stage IV: METASTASIS. Stage IV colorectal cancer are cancers that have spread (metastasized) from the colon or rectum to other parts of the body.
  • 51 recognize: AWARENESS. Colorectal cancer awareness should be a year-long effort and not just in the month of March.
  • 52 Dave Dubin: ALIVE. Dave Dubin is the founder of AliveAndKickn. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1997 at age 29. He is a three-time cancer survivor. Dave has Lynch syndrome.
  • 54 online community: COLONTOWN. A town called COLONTOWN is an online community of more than 100 “secret” groups on Facebook for colorectal cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers.
  • 56 calling for: ADVOCACY. This is the process or act of supporting a cause. Join others in supporting colorectal cancer awareness, prevention and cure.


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