Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths for both women and men. It affects all racial and ethnic groups and is found most often in people aged 50 and older. The good news? Colorectal cancer can be prevented and best treated by conventional screenings, consuming a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise.
Recommendations for lowering your risk for colorectal cancer are:
- Get regular screenings after age 50. Some people who are at a higher risk should be screened younger than 50, including those with a family or personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer or polyps. There are a variety of screening methods which include fecal occult blood testing, flexible sigmoidoscopy, double contrast barium enema, colonoscopy and digital rectal exam. Most colorectal cancers can be detected and treated in the early stages.
- Eat a low-fat and high-fiber diet. Many great recipes can be found in cookbooks and on the Internet.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation. Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.
- If you use tobacco, try to quit. Stay away from secondhand smoke. Alcohol and tobacco in combination are linked to gastrointestinal cancers, including colorectal cancer.
- Exercise in moderation for 30 minutes three to five days a week. With moderate exercise, you will feel a slightly faster heart rate and breathing.
Lowering your risk for colorectal cancer can be easier than you think. Remember that early detection and screening is the key. To find out which screening is the right one for you, please contact your health care provider.
To find out more about colorectal cancer, see the CDC website at http://goo.gl/uuJ88e.