Almost 133,000 cases of colorectal cancers are diagnosed each year in the U.S. They are the second leading cause of cancer deaths (more than 50,000 per year).
What puts you at higher risk of colorectal cancer?
- Being older than 50
- Having a close relative with colorectal cancer
- Having previous colorectal cancer, high-risk polyps, ovarian cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease
- Certain inherited genetic mutations
- Smoking any tobacco products
- Drinking an average of 3 or more alcoholic beverages per day
How can you lower your risk for developing colorectal cancer?
- Get at least 45 minutes of physical activity/exercise 5 days per week
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- Limit red meat consumption
- Take a daily aspirin for at least 5 years (talk to your doctor first)
- Have colorectal polyps that may develop into cancer surgically removed
- Don’t smoke (or quit smoking)
- Limit alcohol consumption
How can you help ensure early detection for more effective treatment?
- If you’re at average risk, begin screenings for polyps and cancerous growths at age 50; screenings include colonoscopies, fecal occult blood tests, and sigmoidoscopies
- If you’re at increased risk, talk to your doctor about earlier screenings
Check out these useful resources about colorectal cancer prevention: