Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer for both men and women, and it is the second leading cause of cancer-related death. Although it is common and deadly, it’s estimated that more than half of all cases of colorectal are preventable.
What is colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer is the growth of abnormal cells that damage the tissues of the colon and rectum.
According to the American Cancer Society, the most likely case of colon cancer is related to changes in the genetic material in our cells. However, most changes to DNA are related to our lifestyle.
Colorectal cancer risk factors
Your chances of getting colorectal cancer may increase based on a wide range of factors, including:
- Age: Your odds increase once you’re over the age of 50.
- Diet:A diet consisting of highly processed food, as well as red meat, can contribute to an increased risk of colorectal cancer
- Physical activity: As with many diseases and illnesses, a sedentary lifestyle can put you at risk. The less active you are, the higher your risk level raises.
- Obesity: Obesity can affect many areas of your overall health, but it is also linked to an increased risk factor for colorectal cancer
- Smoking and alcohol use: Limit or avoid using alcohol will help lower your risk for colorectal cancer
Previous or current medical conditions associated with the colon and rectum can dramatically increase your chance of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Some other significant risk factors include if you have had:
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (e.g., ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
- Radiation treatment to the abdominal or pelvic areas from a previous cancer diagnosis
- Inherited syndromes (e.g., Lynch Syndrome)
- Hyperplastic and adenomatous polyps
The importance of colorectal cancer screenings
Many colorectal cancer cases can be prevented with regular screening since many patients don’t experience any symptoms from colorectal cancer. While there are a few different screening options available, the physician recommended option is a colonoscopy.
During colonoscopies, doctors view the inside of the colon and rectum—in real time—and remove polyps for testing if they are detected.
Advice from Dr. Todd Weinstein
If you are over the age of 45, it’s time to start thinking about colon screening options. One of the best things you can do is get a colonoscopy.
Treatment is most effective when colorectal cancer is found early
Although you may be hesitant to get a colonoscopy, regular screening is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer. You should never wait for problems or symptoms to occur.
Talk with your primary care provider to discuss how Logansport Memorial Hospital’s experts can help you avoid risk factors associated for colorectal cancer.
Request an appointment online or call (574) 722-3566.
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