Colorectal Cancer: Are You at Risk?
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month and, yes, it's a big deal. Just look at the stats:
- Excluding skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the third-most common cancer in both men and women in the U.S.
- This type of cancer results in the second most cancer-related deaths.
- About 135,430 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2017.
- For men, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 21. For women it's 1 in 23.
- About 50,260 people are expected to die from colorectal cancer in 2017.
Source: American Cancer Society
In the past, this disease mainly affected those 50 years of age or older. But in recent years, colorectal cancer has been appearing more and more among younger Americans.
In 2017, about 13,500 Americans under 50 are expected to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, according to this New York Times article.
Lower Your Risk
Colorectal cancer is very preventable, treatable and beatable. When it's found and removed early, your likelihood of a full recovery is excellent. To lower your risk:
- Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet.
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
- Avoid tobacco use.
- Exercise at least three days a week for at least 20 minutes.
- Get regular colorectal cancer screenings after age 50.
Are You 50 or Older?
If so, talk to your doctor about screening options right away. Colorectal cancer rarely causes symptoms in its early stages and often develops over years. You should also get a screening even if you're younger and have a personal or family history of:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Colorectal cancer or polyps
- Or ovarian, endometrial or breast cancer
Your doctor can refer you to one of our specialty clinics (General and Colorectal Surgery or Digestive Diseases) for a colonoscopy screening.
Learn more about this procedure in our video and see if you're at risk by taking our assessment.