According to the American Cancer Society, 9 out of 10 colorectal cancers can be prevented with regular screenings.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.
The good news is the rate of colon or rectal cancer diagnosis has dropped each year since the mid-1980s because more people are getting screened and changing their lifestyle risk factors.
Unfortunately, you may be at a higher risk of colorectal cancer if there is family history of the disease, or you have irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease or other diseases of the colon and rectum.
However, you can reduce the risk of getting colorectal cancer by regular screenings (Call MercyOne Gastroenterology Dept at 641-494-5350 and schedule your screening appointment now) and by making some lifestyle changes.
Risk factors for Colorectal Cancer that you can change!
Weight: Being overweight raises the risk of colon and rectal cancer in both men and women, but the link seems to be stronger in men. Lower your risk by setting a goal to start losing the weight with healthier eating habits (see below) and regular exercise.
Physical Activity: Regular moderate to vigorous physical activity can help lower your risk of getting colorectal cancer. So get moving. Walking, running, biking, hiking, swimming are all good activities to start integrating into your daily routine.
Diet: A diet that’s high in red meats (beef, lamb, pork, liver) and processed meats (like hot dogs and luncheon meats) raises your colorectal cancer risk. Try to develop a new healthier diet filled with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, limiting or avoiding altogether red and processed meats and sugary drinks.
Smoking: People who have smoked tobacco for a long time are more likely than non-smokers to develop and die from colorectal cancer. The best way to change this risk is to quit smoking entirely. You don’t have to go it alone. Look online and in your community for smoking cessation groups.
Alcohol: Colorectal cancer has been linked to moderate to heavy alcohol use, but even light-to-moderate alcohol intake has been associated with some risk. It is best not to drink alcohol at all but for those people who do drink alcohol, try to have no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.
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