March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. This year, more than 95,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with colon cancer and nearly 40,000 will be diagnosed with rectal cancer. A little over 50,000 people will die from this disease.
Want to know another frightening statistic? Traditionally, colorectal cancer affects mostly older people but in recent years, the number of colorectal cancer patients under 50 has begun to rise. Now, 1 in 9 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer is under 50 years of age. 72% of these cases are patients in their 40’s.
The good news is, by knowing the risk factors for colorectal cancer, you can reduce your chance of developing this disease. Many risks can be reduced or eliminated through healthy lifestyle changes, and certain medications are available for people who are at particularly high risk for colorectal cancer due to family and personal medical histories. You could be at an increased risk for colorectal cancer if you:
- Are older. Most diagnoses are in people over 50.
- Are African American.
- Have a personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
- Have a personal history of inflammatory intestinal disease.
- Have an inherited syndrome like Lynch syndrome that is linked to colorectal cancer.
- Have a family history of colorectal disease.
- Follow a diet that is low in fiber and high in fat.
- Lead a sedentary lifestyle.
- Have diabetes.
- Are obese.
- Have undergone radiation therapy in the abdomen area for another type of cancer.
- Drink alcohol excessively.
If you think you could be at an increased risk for colorectal cancer, talk to your medical provider soon to learn how you can reduce your risks. To schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns with an EliteCare provider, call 662-348-3342.