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Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: Risk Factors, Prevention Tips, and Resources

Did you know that among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S.?But it doesn’t have to be, because colorectal screening saves lives.

Screenings can find precancerous polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum) so that they can be removed before turning into cancer.According to the Centers for Disease Control, "about nine out of every 10 people whose colorectal cancer is found early and treated are still alive five years later."

Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors

No one knows exactly what causes colorectal cancer, but research shows that people with certain risk factors are more likely to develop it than others. Studies have shown the following to be risk factors for colorectal cancer:

  • Over 50 years old
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Not physically active, overweight or obese, especially those who carry fat around their waists 
  • Diets high in fat (especially animal fat) and low in calcium, folate, and fiber 
  • Personal history of colorectal cancer or benign (not cancerous) colorectal polyps 
  • Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease) 
  • Family history of colorectal cancer

What can I do to help prevent colorectal cancer?

Talk with your doctor about what the best prevention plan would be for you. But here are some general suggestions on ways to reduce your cancer risk.

Colorectal Cancer Prevention Tips

  • Increase physical activity to 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week
  • Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (foods low in fat and high in calcium & fiber)
  • Eat less red meats
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Avoid tobacco or Quit smoking

Where can I find more information about colorectal cancer?

If you have any concerns, it's best to make an appointment to discuss with your doctor. however, if you'd just liek more information, we've added a few helpful resources to the list below.

References

DISCLAIMER: This blog is for informational purposes only. It does not replace medical care from a licensed physician. If you have a medical concern, please contact your doctor.

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