National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Feb 28, 2018

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the cancers that affect both men and women, cancer of the colon or rectum is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. More than 90 percent of cases occur in men and women ages 50 and older.

Colorectal cancer usually starts from polyps in the colon or rectum. Polyps are growths that shouldn’t be there. Over time some polyps can turn to cancer. Screening tests can find polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests can find colorectal cancer early, and early detection is the best chance of being treated successfully.

The American Cancer Society lists the following individuals at risk:

• Men and women age 50 and older;

• People who use tobacco, are obese or have sedentary lifestyles;

• People with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or benign (not cancerous) colorectal polyps;

• People with a personal or family history of inflammatory colitis or Crohn’s disease;

• People with a family history of inherited colorectal cancer;

The American Cancer Society recommends the following to reduce your risk:

• Be physically active and exercise regularly.

• Maintain a healthy weight.

• Eat a high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains.

• Consume calcium-rich foods like low-fat or skim milk.

• Don’t smoke.

• Don’t drink alcohol excessively.

• Have a colorectal cancer screening test beginning at age 50. (If you are at greater risk you may need to start screenings at a younger age).

Discuss your risk and when screenings should begin with your health care professional.

However, call your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms, regardless of age: Change in bowel habits, bleeding, weight loss for no known reason, or frequent gas pains, bloating or cramping.

For more detailed information visit the CDC website or American Cancer Society or call 800-227-2345.



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