Make Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Your Colon Cancer Risk – From the Mayo Clinic Staff

You can take steps to reduce your risk of colon cancer by making changes in your everyday life. Take steps to:

  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may play a role in cancer prevention. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables so that you get an array of vitamins and nutrients.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.
  • Stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit that may work for you.
  • Exercise most days of the week. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If you’ve been inactive, start slowly and build up gradually to 30 minutes. Also, talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you have a healthy weight, work to maintain your weight by combining a healthy diet with daily exercise. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy ways to achieve your goal. Aim to lose weight slowly by increasing the amount of exercise you get and reducing the number of calories you eat.

Nutrition For Colon Cancer Prevention – Healthy Horizons Lunch and Learn, Friday, March 27th, Noon

Optimizing your nutrition for colon cancer prevention

Friday, March 27, Noon-12:45, PB204
Samples will be available for the first 30 people
How much fiber do I need? How can I sneak in my fruits and vegetables? Looking for non-meat cooking ideas? Come find the answers- join Healthy Horizons for an interactive session to learn practical tips and sample nutritious ideas on how to eat healthy and support colon health.

Participants will be entered into a drawing for a Healthy Horizons gift package.
Please rsvp to healthyhorizons@butler.edu by Thursday, March 26th.

Five Myths About Colorectal Cancer

In many cases, colorectal cancer can be prevented. Still, it’s one of the 5 most common cancers in men and women in the United States. Colorectal cancer is also one of the leading causes of cancer death in the United States. Don’t let these common myths stop you from getting the life-saving tests you need, when you need them.

Myth: Colorectal cancer is a man’s disease.

Truth: Colorectal cancer is just as common among women as men. Each year, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 die from it.

Myth: Colorectal cancer cannot be prevented.

Truth: In many cases colorectal cancer can be prevented. Colorectal cancer almost always starts with a small growth called a polyp. If the polyp is found early, doctors can remove it and stop colorectal cancer before it starts.

These tests can find polyps: double-contrast barium enema, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, or CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy). Talk to your doctor about which test is best for you.

Other ways to help lower your chances of getting colorectal cancer:

Myth: African Americans are not at risk for colorectal cancer.

Truth: African-American men and women are diagnosed with and die from colorectal cancer at higher rates than men and women of any other US racial or ethnic group. The reason for this is not yet understood.

Myth: Age doesn’t matter when it comes to getting colorectal cancer.

Truth: About 90% of all colorectal cancers are found in people age 50 and older. For this reason, the American Cancer Society recommends you start getting checked for this cancer when you are 50.

People who are at a higher risk for colorectal cancer – such as those who have colon or rectal cancer in their families – may need to begin testing when they are younger. Ask your doctor when you should start getting tested and how often you should be tested.

Myth: It’s better not to get tested for colorectal cancer because it’s deadly anyway.

Truth: Colorectal cancer is often highly treatable. If it’s found and treated early (while it’s small and before it has spread), the 5-year survival rate is about 90%. But because many people are not getting tested, only about 4 out of 10 are diagnosed at this early stage when treatment is most likely to be successful.

To find out if you are at an increased risk for colorectal cancer and what you can do to help decrease your chances of getting this disease, please read Colorectal Cancer Early Detection.

Signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer may cause one or more of the symptoms below. If you have any of the following you should see your doctor:

  • A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in the stool which may make it look dark
  • Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss

Colorectal cancers can bleed. While sometimes the blood can be seen or cause the stool to become darker, often the stool looks normal. The blood loss can build up over time, though, and lead to low red blood cell counts (anemia). Sometimes the first sign of colorectal cancer is a blood test showing a low red blood cell count.

Most of these problems are more often caused by conditions other than colorectal cancer, such as infection, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, or inflammatory bowel disease. Still, if you have any of these problems, it’s important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.