March is Colorectal Cancer Month
Colorectal cancer affects 1 in 23 for men and 1 in 26 for women – 153,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year. But colorectal cancer is preventable, and can be successfully treated and is often curable when detected early.
Know your risks for Colorectal Cancer:
Colorectal cancer can affect anyone – men or women alike – and your risk increases as you age. But some people are at greater risk for the disease.
- People with a personal or family history of benign colorectal polyps.
- People with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer.
- People with a personal or family history of inflammatory bowel disease – ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s.
- People with a personal or family history of ovarian, endometrial or breast cancer.
- People of African American and Hispanic descent, who are often diagnosed at a later stage of the disease.
- Men and women over the age of 40
Steps to lowering your risk of Colorectal Cancer:
To lower your risk of colorectal cancer, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons recommends that you:
- Get regular colorectal cancer screenings beginning at age 45, or earlier if you have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps, or a personal history of another cancer or inflammatory bowel disease.
- Eat between 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day from fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread and cereals, nuts and beans.
- Eat a low-fat diet.
- Eat foods with folate such as leafy green vegetables.
- If you use alcohol, drink only in moderation. Alcohol and tobacco in combination are linked to colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers. If you use tobacco, quit. If you don’t use tobacco, don’t start.
- Exercise for at least 20 minutes three to four days each week. Moderate exercise such as walking, gardening, or climbing steps may help reduce your risk.
Talk to your colorectal surgeon or another healthcare provider about colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is preventable and is easy to treat and often curable when detected early. Ask your healthcare provider what kind of screening test you should have and when.
Call the Mary Washington Healthcare Regional Cancer Center at 540.741.1236 or visit cancer.mwhc.com for more information.