Too many lives each year are affected by colorectal cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS) reports that, excluding skin cancers, it’s the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States, and it’s estimated that there will be 140,250 new cases of colon and rectal cancer this year. The lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is one in 22 for men and one in 24 for women.
It’s for these reasons that March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Patients, survivors, caregivers, and advocates unite to spread awareness about this disease, according to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. They wear blue, host fundraising and educational events, inform friends and family about the importance of screenings, and more.
Those who come together against this senseless killer understand that prevention is an important weapon in the fight against colorectal cancer. The following may reduce your colon and rectal cancer risks:
Get a colorectal cancer screening
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting regular screenings beginning at age 50. Colorectal cancer in most cases develops from precancerous polyps, which are abnormal growths in the colon or rectum. It’s important to remove these as soon as possible, and this process begins with a screening, such as a colonoscopy.
The ACS says increasing physical activity may lower colorectal cancer risks and polyps. This can include activities that make you breathe as hard as you do during a brisk walk, and more vigorous activity could have a bigger impact.
Long-term smokers are at a higher risk of getting and dying of colon cancer. Quitting can decrease your risk of colorectal cancer.
Improve your diet
Put down the steak, and pick up an apple. Your colorectal cancer risk increases if you eat a great deal of red meat, such as beef and pork, and processed meats. However, improving your diet by incorporating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has been linked with a decreased risk.
Limit your drinking
Heavy drinkers are at increased risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The ACS recommends no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
Through prevention and a healthy lifestyle, you can lessen your colorectal cancer risk. Please share this article with friends and family so they know the risks.