Take Action Against Colon Cancer Now! Early Detection Saves Lives! Wednesday, April 22, 2009 |
Colon cancer, or colorectal cancer, develops in the colon and rectum from growths known as polyps. Regular screening can detect polyps before they become cancerous, improving the chance of preventing or treating the cancer. The risk of developing colon cancer or dying from colon cancer can be reduced through regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy body weight, and regular screenings.
What is colon cancer?
Who gets colon cancer?
- Cancer that develops in the parts of the colon and rectum, both parts of the large intestine of the digestive system.
- Development of colon cancer normally takes many years and can arise from the abnormal growth of tissue in the colon. These growths, called polyps, can develop in the lining of the colon and rectum.
- Polyps may become cancerous and if untreated cancer may spread to surrounding organs, blood vessels, and lymph nodes.
- If polyps are detected early through regular screenings, cancer can be prevented.
- When detected early, cancer can be treated through less invasive surgery and recovery is much faster.
What are the risk factors for colon cancer?
- Anyone can get colon cancer.
- Colon cancer is the 3rd most commonly diagnosed cancer and the 3rd leading cause of cancer death for men and women in the US.
- Colon cancer is 90% treatable if detected early.
- The risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer is 5.5% for men and 5.1% for women.
- 20-25% of colon cancer cases develop in people with a family history for colon cancer.
- 75% of colon cancer cases occur in people with no family history of colon cancer.
- As you age, your risk factor for developing colon cancer increases.
- 91% of new cases and 94% of deaths from colon cancer occur in people who are 50 years of age or older.
- Colon cancer affects men and women.
Personal History of Colon Cancer.
- African Americans have a greater chance of developing colon cancer than Caucasian men and women.
- African Americans are often diagnosed with colon cancer when it has spread to other parts of the body.
- Caucasians are diagnosed with colon cancer more frequently than other ethnic groups.
Family History of Colon Cancer.
- History of colon cancer, colon polyps, or chronic inflammatory bowel disease puts a person at higher risk for colon cancer.
- People who have had colon cancer are more likely to develop it again after treatment, or may develop cancer in other areas of the body.
- People with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or offspring) who have had colon cancer have two times the risk of developing colon cancer compared to someone with no family history.
- Risk increases if the relative was diagnosed at an early age or there is more than one relative who has been diagnosed with colon cancer.
- Exercising regularly reduces the risk of developing colon cancer.
- The more exercise a person engages in, the lower the risk of colon cancer.
- The American Cancer Society recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity on 5 or more days per week.
- Even if a person is physically active, carrying extra weight puts them at risk for developing colon cancer.
- Carrying extra weight in the abdomen, measured by waist size, may put a person at even greater risk for colon cancer.
- Smoking increases the development of cancerous polyps in the colon, leading to cancer of the colon and rectum.
- Moderate use of alcohol (30 grams; 2 drinks per day) may increase your risk of getting colon cancer.
- Type II diabetes and colon cancer share many of the same risk factors, such as obesity and physical inactivity.
- Eating a high amount of red or processed meat increases the risk of developing colon cancer.
- Consuming milk, calcium-rich foods, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can reduce your risk of developing colon cancer.
How can I decrease my colon cancer risk?
- Get regular screenings, especially if you are over age 50.
- Maintain a healthy weight (BMI<25).
- Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes/day on 5 or more days a week.
- Limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
- Quit smoking.
- Eat 5 or more servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables a day.
- Eat whole grains rather than refined grains.
- Limit the consumption of processed and red meats.
- Consume 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium each day from milk, yogurt, and other dairy sources.
- Taking an aspirin a day may reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
What are some possible warning signs of colon cancer?
More information from the American Cancer Society can be found at http://www.cancer.org/.
- Bleeding from the rectum.
- Blood in stool or change in shape of stool.
- Cramping pain in lower stomach.
- Feeling of discomfort or urge to have a bowel movement where there is no need to have one.
- New onset of constipation.
- Abnormal weight loss.