March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
We’ve put together some facts about colorectal cancer (CRC) and some steps to reduce your risk.
CRC is the third most common cancer and the second most common cause of death from cancer for both Canadian men and women.
The National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC)
Yet CRC is a highly treatable cancer if it is detected early and it is up to 90 per cent preventable with timely and thorough testing or “CRC screening”. Unfortunately as it stands today, nearly half of those diagnosed find out too late.
In 2013, an estimated 23,900 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 9,200 will die of it. Overall, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in men and women combined.
- Colorectal cancer is not only a men’s disease.
- An estimated 10,600 women were diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 4,200 will die of it.
- An estimated 13,200 men will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 5,000 will die of it.
- On average, 65 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer every day.
- On average, 25 Canadians will die of colorectal cancer every day.
Probability of developing or dying from colorectal cancer
- One in 13 men is expected to develop colorectal cancer during his lifetime and one in 29 will die of it.
- One in 15 women is expected to develop colorectal cancer during her lifetime and one in 31 will die of it.
Facts about colorectal cancer
- Colorectal cancer starts in the colon or rectum (together referred to as the large intestine).
- It often starts out as polyps – small growths, not cancerous, found on the inner wall of the colon or rectum.
- Screening tests for colorectal cancer can also detect polyps, which can removed before they develop into cancer.
- The earlier it is detected, the easier it is to treat.
- Screening is done by having a stool test – which could save your life, so is worth the bother.
- Ask your doctor about risk factors.
- Ask your doctor about screening if you are 50 or older. Repeat the stool test every two years .
What can you change to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer?
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Research shows you are at a higher risk if you are obese or overweight.
- Stay physically active – move around, get up from your desk and off the couch. Dance, walk, run, cycle, or swim. Find a sport or active hobby you enjoy and make time for it as often as you can.
- Choose healthy foods. Strong evidence shows that a healthy diet can prevent colorectal cancer. Eat foods high in fibre, such as vegetables and fruit, beans, peas and lentils and whole grains. Limit the amount of red and processed meats. Avoid eating meat and fish cooked at high temperatures.
- Limit your intake of alchol. The more you drink, the greater your risk. So limit your risk by having less than one drink per day.
- Don’t smoke and avoid being around second hand smoke. Research shows a strong link between smoking and colorectal cancer. If you do smoke, get help to kick the habit.