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Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer is a cancer that develops in either the colon or the rectum. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The Month of March is designated as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. It is the perfect opportunity to learn more and get screened.

What is Colorectal Cancer?


Colorectal cancer typically begins when polyps (abnormal growths) form in the colon or rectum. Polyps are not always cancerous but can turn cancerous over time. Polyps do not show symptoms of their existence which is why regular screenings are recommended to check for polyps in the colon.


Risk Factors


The majority of individuals diagnosed with colorectal cancer are over the age of 50; however, more young adults are being diagnosed with the disease. Race is another risk factor. African-Americans are at greater risk of developing colon cancer than any other race. Other risk factors include family history, inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and a diet that is low fiber, high fat diet to name a few.


Symptoms


Symptoms of Colorectal cancer may include bloody stools (bowel movements), abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, changes in bowel habits or bowel appearance, Diarrhea or constipation.


Prevention


 It is recommended to start getting screened for colorectal cancer at the age of 45. Those with an increase risk for the disease may start screening early. Lifestyle changes such as exercise, a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.


 

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