Despite being one of the most preventable and curable cancers, more than
135,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each year. Colorectal
cancer is one of the five leading causes of cancer death in the United States.
Many factors contribute to this problem but one of the biggest obstacles
is overcoming the many myths and misconceptions that prevent people from
getting screened. It’s time to set the record straight!
Is colorectal cancer just a man’s disease?
No, colorectal cancer is almost as common among women as men. While about
71,000 men are diagnosed each year in the U.S., 65,000 women will receive
a colonoscopy painful?
Having a colonoscopy is not as unpleasant as most people expect it to be.
The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes during which time you are
sedated to prevent discomfort. This simple screening can detect small
polyps. The entire colon can be examined and polyps can be removed immediately
during the same procedure--stopping cancer before it starts.
Does age matter when it comes to getting colorectal cancer?
Most colorectal cancers are found in people age 50 and older. For this
reason, the American Cancer Society recommends you start getting checked
for this cancer when you’re 50.
People at a higher risk for colorectal cancer, like those who have colon
or rectal cancer in their families, may need to be tested at a younger
age. Ask your doctor when you should start getting tested and how often
you should be tested.
Will exercise help prevent colorectal cancer?
While some risk factors like family history are beyond your control, an
estimated 50-75% of colorectal cancer can be prevented through lifestyle
alone! So lace up your sneakers and walk the dog, park further away from
the office or grocery store, or simply take the stairs. Small changes
can make a big difference in reducing your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Should I watch what I eat?
Since weight plays a role in cancer risk, it’s important to eat healthy.
Reducing your intake of red and processed meats and increasing your intake
of fruits and vegetables, and enjoying regular exercise can reduce your
chances of developing colorectal cancer. Here are some simple suggestions:
- Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
- Choose whole grains over refined grain products.
- If you drink alcohol, limit the amount to 1 drink per day for women, 2
per day for men.
- Don’t use tobacco in any form.
Colorectal cancer is often highly treatable. If found and treated early,
the 5-year relative survival rate is about 90%. But because many people
are not getting tested the way they should, only about 4 out of 10 are
diagnosed at this early stage when treatment is most likely to be successful.
March 17 is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Day. Learn about colorectal cancer
and how to lower your risk, and schedule your colonoscopy! Call 302.421.4970