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10 ways you can prevent colorectal cancer

Published Date:

written by Courtney Hall - March 14, 2017

March is colorectal cancer prevention month. Bad news: colorectal cancers are among the deadliest kind. Good news: you might be able to prevent it.

The colon and rectum are part of the digestive system that form a long tube called the large intestine or large bowel. The colon’s role is to utilize the nutrients and rid the body of leftover waste products called stool or bowel movement. Cancer occurs when normal cells grow out of control. Colon cancer can stay in the colon or spread to other parts of the body. It likes to go to the liver.

Colon cancer, while a top cancer killer, is one cancer that you can prevent. Caught early, you’ll have a 90% chance of surviving five years. Here are some tips from the American Cancer Society:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day.
  3. Quit smoking. Smoking has been tied to colon cancer, so quit now or, even better, don’t ever start.
  4. Make red meat a treat, and avoid processed meats, too
  5. Limit alcohol. Men: stick to two drinks a day; women, stick to one drink per day
  6. Increase fiber intake. Try to eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day along with whole grains.
  7. Check stool for blood yearly after 50.
  8. Colonoscopy every 10 years after 50 or sigmoidoscopy every five years.
  9. Sleep at least eight hours at night.
  10. Get screened. Screenings are the first step to ward off colon cancer.

Risk factors include:

  • Age over 50
  • Polyps (growths in colon or rectum)
  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Genetic alterations
  • Overweight
  • Smoker
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Diet high in processed and or red meats

If you have any of these risk factors, you should get screened.

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