Colorectal cancer starts in the colon or the rectum. These cancers can also be called colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where they start.
Colon cancer and rectal cancer are often grouped together because they have many features in common. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults ages 45 to 75 be screened for colorectal cancer.
Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer are at higher risk and may need to be screened earlier. Please consult your physician.
Things you can do to lower your risk of colorectal cancer include:
- Managing your weight: Being overweight or obese increases the risk in both men and women. Maintaining a healthy weight may help lower your risk.
- Daily physical activity: Engage in daily moderate to vigorous activity. Sitting less, moving more and increasing the intensity of your physical activity may help reduce your risk.
- Eating a balanced diet: Limiting red and processed meats and eating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains may help lower your risk.
- Quitting smoking: Long-term smoking is linked to increased risk — as well as for other cancers and health concerns. Quitting smoking may help lower your risk.
- Reduce or avoid alcohol: Heavy alcohol intake has been found to increase cancer risk. Women shouldn’t have more than one drink per day, and men should not have more than two drinks per day. Not drinking alcohol may help reduce your risk.
Learn more about colorectal cancer prevention in this Blue Cross Virtual Well-Being℠ webinar, Dr. Gwendolyn Parker Discusses Colorectal Cancer. You can also sign up for future employer- or individual-focused webinars and guided meditations here.
Photo credit: Getty Images