March is National colorectal cancer awareness month and as with any cancer, early detection is key. According to the American Cancer Society statistics more than one million Americans can count themselves as survivors of colorectal cancer.
The Colorectal Cancer Alliance has started a campaign called “Don’t Assume” for the month of March to try to raise public awareness. The campaign’s message is not to assume that you don’t have cancer and get screened, pay attention to symptoms and advocate for your own health. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to challenge assumptions and misconceptions about colorectal cancer by dispelling myths and connecting people with information and support.
Early detection and treatment do make a difference, but there are ways to help prevent colorectal cancer. Studies have shown that your diet contributes to the risk of getting colorectal cancer. Diets that are rich in red or processed meats can increase the risk, along with the way that you prepare your protein. Grilling, frying and high-temperature cooking release chemicals that may contributor . Cutting back on protein and increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains can reduce your risk for colon cancer.
Being too sedentary or overweight may also increase your risk for cancer. Physical exercise can reduce your risk but also reduces your risk factor for other diseases. Things like smoking and heavy alcohol use have also been linked to an increase risk.
Another way to know if you are at risk for colon cancer is in your family history. Having someone in your family with colon cancer increases the risk that you may have colon cancer at some point in your life. If you do, inform your doctor and get screenings regularly to stay ahead of the cancer.
Visit cancer.org for more information and to learn more about risk factors, early detection and treatment options. Visit ccalliance.org to learn more about the “Don’t Assume” campaign and what you can do to raise awareness.
Tags: colorectal cancer