March is the designated month to create awareness of colon cancer-also known as colorectal cancer.  Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum.  It is equally as common in women as it is men, although it is often thought to affect more men than women.  The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age. Here are some colorectal cancer risk factors:

  • Being age 50 and over
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight increases your risk for colorectal cancer, especially for those who carry fat around their waists
  • Drinking alcohol in excess
  • Having a family history of colorectal cancer
  • Eating a lot of red meat
  • Having a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease

Here are some prevention and early detection tips:

  • Be physically active every day for at least 30 minutes
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat less red meat
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains to help you stay healthy
  • Have a stool occult blood test every year
  • Have a colonoscopy atleast every 10 years
  • Have a Double-contrast barium enema every five years

Early detection is key to becoming a survivor of colorectal so know the symptoms of colorectal cancer which include:

  • Blood in or on the stool
  • Stomach pain, aches or cramps that do not go away
  • Losing weight and you don’t know why

Colorectal cancer can be treated successfully if detected early.  Be sure to stay healthy for a long fulfilling life with your loved ones- they’ll be glad you did!

~Denise Stevens RN

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