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March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.

It’s also one of the top leading causes of cancer deaths in the U.S.

You increase your chance of developing colon cancer if you're eating a high fat diet and not getting enough fruits and vegetables.

Genetic and environmental factors also play a role in the development of colorectal cancer which usually develops from polyps in the intestines.

More than 50,000 men and women die from colorectal cancer each year because it’s difficult to diagnose in its early stages. This means it’s very important to know the symptoms, recognize early warning signs and see your doctor on a regular basis, especially if you are at high risk.

Signs and symptoms can include changes in bowel habits like diarrhea or constipation, bleeding, abdominal pain, fatigue, and weight loss.

If you are obese, you have a higher risk of developing colon cancer compared with normal weight patients.

Also lack of exercise, insufficient fiber intake and eating high amounts of red meat and processed foods are all associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer.

The good news is there's a 50 percent reduction in colon cancer for those who exercise.

Tests for colorectal cancer include examination of the colon with a colonoscopy and CT scan.

Screening should begin at age 50 unless you are at high risk or have a strong family history then it will begin earlier.

There is no primary prevention of colon cancer, but studies show that taking aspirin daily for at least five years was associated with a reduction of colorectal cancer.

Calcium supplements also help and removal of polyps during colonoscopy can help prevent death and when caught early, colorectal cancer may have a high five-year survival rate.

This year about 136,000 people are predicted to be diagnosed with colon cancer in the U.S.


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