Colorectal cancer is a cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. Most colorectal cancers develop first as polyps or abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum that may later become cancerous if not removed. Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers and also one of the most preventable.

Prevention can be easy if you make it a part of your daily life. In the United States, more than half (55%) of all CRCs are attributable to lifestyle factors, including an unhealthy diet, insufficient physical activity, high alcohol consumption, and smoking. There are a lot of things you can do each day to help reduce your risk.

Healthy Eating – Yummy!

Diets high in fruits and vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of many diseases including colorectal cancer. Foods like this are high in dietary fiber and nutrients. They also help maintain a healthy weight and are lower in calories.

Limiting your intake of red and processed meats is also a good idea as those foods are linked to a higher rate of colorectal cancer. The suggested amount of red meat intake per week is 18 ounces or less. Instead of red meat, look to foods like poultry, fish or beans as an alternate source of protein.

Let’s get Moving

Exercise is hugely beneficial to all bodies, especially those who are trying to reduce their risk of colorectal cancer and other diseases. Did you know that 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity per day is needed to protect against colorectal cancer? Taking a jog, a moderate hike, a bike ride or anything that gets your heart rate up is a great way to get moving and reduce your risk. Those who are overweight or sedentary are more at risk to develop colon polyps.

Drinking and Smoking? Let’s cut back…

According to the National Cancer Institute, anyone  that regularly drinks 3.5 alcoholic beverages per day have 1.5 times the risk of developing colorectal cancer as opposed to nondrinkers or social drinkers. If you do chose to drink, try to limit your consumption.

Also, long-term cigarette smoking is associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Make an Appointment – Get Screened

All men and women should be screened for colorectal cancer and should begin getting screened at the age of 45. Individual risk factors such as ethnicity, lifestyle and family history, will determine when you should start getting checked.

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance quiz can calculate your risk of colorectal cancer >>

Make an appointment with your Primary Care Provider to see if you’re in need of a screening. If you don’t have a primary care physician, make an appointment with one of ours at Garnet Health Doctors by calling 845-333-7575.