Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.
Men and women are at equal risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Early detection of colorectal cancer leads to easier treatments and higher survival rates.
More than one-third of colorectal cancer deaths could be avoided if all eligible individuals participated in regular screening.
Colorectal cancer screening is safe and effective.
Along with regular screening, healthy lifestyle choices are the best current preventive measures against colorectal cancer. Here’s how you can help reduce your risk:
Eat more foods that are high in fiber, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables.
Eat more cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts.
Increase calcium intake with low-fat milk, shellfish, salmon, calcium supplements with vitamin D.
Decrease fats oils, butter, red meats.
Limit your intake of charcoal broiled foods and avoid salt-cured foods.
Do not smoke.
Keep your body mass index in the normal range.
Colorectal cancer usually develops from pre-cancerous polyps called adenomatous polyps or serrated polyps. A polyp is a grape-like growth on the inside wall of the colon or rectum. Polyps grow slowly over many years. Most people do not develop polyps until after the age of 50 if they have an average risk for colorectal cancer (see below).
Some polyps become cancerous, others do not. In order to reduce the likelihood of colorectal cancer, it is important to get screened to find out if you have polyps and to have them removed if you do.
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Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors
You are at average risk for colorectal cancer if you are age 50 or older and have none of the following risk factors.
Increased Risk Factors
Personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps (adenomatous or serrated).
Family history one or more parents, siblings, or children with colorectal cancer or polyps (adenomatous or serrated).
Family history of multiple cancers, including colorectal cancer, and those involving the uterus, ovary and other organs.
Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
Inherited syndrome such as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP), which leads to hundreds of polyps in the colon or rectum during the teen years; generally one of these develops into cancer by age 30.
Lynch Syndrome (Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colon Cancer), which is not characterized by a large number of polyps as a warning sign, but often includes a family history of colorectal cancer among multiple family members in multiple generations.