Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the US, but also one of the most preventable. Colorectal cancers are slow-growing and almost always start as a small growth in the colon--otherwise known as a polyp. Early detection through routine screening has been shown to significantly improve survival rates if a polyp or cancer is found.
White Plains Hospital has pledged to help increase colorectal cancer screening rates in Westchester County by supporting the 80% by 2018 initiative, led by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (an organization co-founded by ACS and CDC). The initiative strives to ensure that 80% of individuals ages 50 and over receive the recommended screenings for colorectal cancer by 2018. Screenings are now offered using non-invasive techniques, such as a High-Sensitivity Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT), a Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT), or Cologuard - all of which can be done within the comfort of your own home.
To learn more about colon cancer risk factors, click here.
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THINGS YOU CAN DO TO REDUCE YOUR RISK
Diet – Having a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has been linked to a decreased risk of colorectal cancer. It’s also known that avoiding red or processed meats, like lamb, liver, beef, hot dogs, and luncheon meats high in nitrates or nitrites, reduces your risk of colorectal cancer.
Physical activity – Maintaining a healthy level of physical activity has been shown to decrease the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Obesity – Being overweight not only increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer in both men and women, but also increases the likelihood of a poor outcome. The link is stronger in men than it is in women.
Smoking & tobacco use – Smoking and tobacco use increases the likelihood that an individual will develop colorectal cancer, as well as many other types of cancers. Research suggests that the risk comes from exposure to the swallowed carcinogenic chemicals generated from the tobacco. Smoking also increases the likelihood of dying of the disease.
Heavy alcohol use – The heavy use of alcohol has been linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer in both men and women. Research has suggested a relationship to low folic acid levels that result from heavy alcohol use. The American Cancer Society recommends no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women to avoid increasing the risk of developing colon cancer.
FIND A PHYSICIAN AT THE CENTER FOR CANCER CARE