According to research studies, colon cancer is the 2nd most common cause for cancer - related death in the US, yet if detected and treated early, the survival rate for colon cancer patients is quite high. With March being Colon Cancer Awareness Month, let's look at some factors that increase your risk of developing colon cancer. Many of these are within your power to control and can be modified to lower your risk of developing colon cancer.
Modifiable risk factors:
- Obesity or being overweight: There is a strong link between a large waistline and increased risk of colon cancer. This link appears to be stronger in men as compared to women
- Sedentary lifestyle: If you work at a desk job and are not physically active, your chances of developing colon cancer are higher.
- Not eating enough fruits and vegetables: Eating too much red meat such as beef, lamb, and pork as well as processed meats such as hot dogs, and not eating enough fruits and vegetables can set you up for developing colon cancer.
- Smoking: A well-known cause for lung cancer, smoking is also linked to colon cancer. Long-time smokers are more likely to develop and die of colon cancer as compared to non-smokers.
- Excessive drinking: Limiting alcohol consumption to no more than 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
Unmodifiable risk factors or risk factors you cannot change include old age, a previous history or family history of having polyps or colon cancer, being of African American descent, and presence of inflammatory bowel disease or type 2 diabetes.
Work on your modifiable risk factors by eating healthy, being more active, and cutting out smoking and drinking. Regarding unmodifiable risk factors for colon cancer, you should consult your doctor or a gastroenterologist to create an individualized plan to prevent or detect & treat cancer as soon as possible.
Greater Houston Gastroenterology provides specialized services and treatments for a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions in The Woodlands, SugarLand and Spring, TX. Call us today for an appointment.