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Happy Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month!

Posted Mar 03 2009 4:14pm
According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 149,000 new cases of the disease were diagnosed in the United States last year. Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in men and women and is the nation's third leading cause of cancer death.

So what are the risk factors for colorectal cancer? Poor diet, lack of exercise, and having polyps in the colon or rectum areas. Although most polyps never become cancerous, virtually all colon and rectal cancers start from polyps. The good news is that polyps can be easily removed.

Beginning at age 50 (or when you and your doc decide it's time) it is time for a colonoscopy or a fecal occult blood test. If you've know someone who has had a colonoscopy you know they're not exactly fun but they beat having cancer! If all goes well the current recommendation says you don't have to go back for 10 years.

Signs of colorectal cancer?

  • Bleeding from the rectum.
  • Blood in the stool or toilet after a bowel movement.
  • A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days.
  • Abdominal or gas pains.
  • Unexplained weight loss (A girl can dream right?)

How can you prevent colorectal cancer? The usual suspects; maintain a healthy weight, eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, keep physically active and limit the use of alcoholic beverages.

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