It’s National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Photos1Learn how early screenings and proper nutrition can actually prevent this disease if discovered early enough.

Both men and women need to screen against colorectal cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, it's the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. But amazingly enough it is the one cancer you can prevent, and early screening could save your life. Colorectal cancer can be cured in up to 90 percent of people when it is discovered in the early stages.

What Is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer occurs in the colon or rectum, both are part of the digestive system. Abnormal cells grow and make changes in the lining of the colon or rectum, and these growths are called polyps.

What Are the Symptoms?
Symptoms are not always noticeable, but when they do occur you might expect the following:

Are You at Risk for Colorectal Cancer?
The exact cause of colorectal cancer is not known, but various factors have been associated with an increased risk.

6 Steps to Lowering Your Risk of Colon Cancer
The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons recommends these six steps to lower your risk:

  1. Get regular colorectal cancer screenings beginning at age 50. If you have any of the other risk factors, talk to your doctor about earlier screening.
  2. Eat plenty of fiber — between 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day from fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, cereals, nuts and beans.
  3. Eat a low-fat diet.
  4. Eat foods with folate, such as leafy green vegetables.
  5. Don't smoke or drink excessively.
  6. Exercise for at least 20 minutes three to four days each week.

Make an appointment with your physician and evaluate symptoms or talk about screenings. If you need a doctor, JFK offers a physician referral service as well as diagnostic testing through our Outpatient Department that can put your mind at ease.

Where Can I Find More Information?

National Cancer Institute

The American Cancer Society

National Institutes of Health
(301) 496-4000

Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA)