About colorectal cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, colorectal cancer, which includes colon cancer and rectal cancer, is the fourth most common form of cancer in both men and women in the U.S. The same holds true for North Carolina (NC) where colorectal cancer is behind breast cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer respectively. North Carolina accounts for 3% of all colorectal cancer cases in the U.S. In 2010, 91 combined cases of colon cancer and rectal cancer were diagnosed and treated in Pinehurst, NC. (Source: FirstHealth-2011 Cancer Report).
There are a number of factors that have been attributed to increasing the risk of developing colorectal cancer. You can learn more about the risk factors associated with colon cancer at our blog.
Decrease your risk of developing colorectal cancer
There is no way to completely eliminate your chances of developing colorectal cancer. The following tips, however, may help reduce your risk:
- Maintain a healthy body mass index – The link between colorectal cancer and obesity seems to be greater in men than in women. Nevertheless, both men and women should strive to maintain a healthy weight. If you've tried and failed to maintain a healthy weight in the past, you could be a candidate for bariatric surgery. Calculate your BMI and learn more about weight-loss surgery today.
- Diet –Maintain a diet that is high in fiber and low in fatty meats. Eating foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help increase your fiber intake. You should also try to reduce the amount of red (steak, hamburgers, etc.) and processed meats (hot dogs, sausage, certain types of lunch meats, etc.) that you eat.
- Exercise –Exercising regularly may help reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer. The CDC recommends that adults spend time each week doing both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities to experience important health benefits. If you already exercise, consider increasing the intensity of your workouts for improved fitness and overall health benefits.
- Do not smoke –Though more commonly associated with lung cancer, smoking has been shown to increase the likelihood of developing digestive system cancers such as colon cancer and rectal cancer. If you are currently a smoker and need help quitting. FirstHealth’s smoking cessation program, FirstQuit, is here to help.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol –The overindulgence of alcohol is believed to increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. The moderate use of alcohol is defined as no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men.
You cannot completely eliminate your risk of developing colorectal cancer. By following these preventive lifestyle tips, you can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer or rectal cancer. These healthy lifestyle choices could also help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other preventable conditions.
The Cancer Center offers comprehensive cancer care to the Pinehurst, Sanford, Raeford, Laurinburg, Lumberton, Troy and Rockingham regions of North Carolina and beyond.