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March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness MonthMarch is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
When colorectal cancer is detected early, it is easily treated and often curable. Timely testing can help prevent colorectal cancer by finding and removing polyps before they become cancerous. Screening tests for colorectal cancer can save 30,000 lives each year.
Colon rectal cancer is more common in older adults, so doctors usually screen people at 50 years of age or older. Some people have risk factors that make them more likely to get colorectal cancer at a young age.
Screening should begin earlier for people with the following conditions:
- A history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- A family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- History of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- A hereditary colon cancer syndrome
- Poor dietary habits such as a high fat, low fiber diet
What can you do to lower your risk of colorectal cancer?
- Get regular colorectal screening tests beginning at age 50
- Know the symptoms of colorectal cancer, including blood in the stool, stomach pain that does not go away and weight loss
- Eat a low fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains
- Drink alcohol only in moderation
- Do not smoke
- Exercise at least 20 minutes, three or four times a week