Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer in both men and women. In 2017, there will be about 95,000 new cases of colon cancer and 40,000 cases of rectal cancer diagnosed in the U.S. and
27,000 men and 23,000 women will die from this disease.
Colorectal cancer rates continue to decline in those over the age of 50 due to screening. Colonoscopy screening is very effective at finding precancerous polyps and removal is easy. Colorectal cancers are usually slow growing. Regular screening can prevent these disease from becoming deadly. The Colorectal cancer incidence rate has dropped more than 30% since 2000.
Unfortunately, the colorectal cancer rate is increasing for Gen Xers and Millenials under the age of 50. This rate has increased by more than 20% from 2000-2013. This rise in colorectal cancer is due to increasing rates of obesity and unhealthy diets. Another factor is the lack of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle of younger adults.
There are things you can do to lower your colorectal cancer risk.
1. Stay at a healthy weight!. Cancer risk increases as the amount of belly fat increases.
2. Exercise. Regular moderate exercise lowers your risk of colorectal cancer and polyps. More strenuous exercise is even more effective at lowering your risk.
3. Diet. Stick to a diet low in red meat and get rid of processed meats which are linked to an increase in colorectal cancer. Increase your intake of fruits, veggies and whole grains to lower your risk. Fiber from whole grains is also important for a healthy diet.
4. Avoid too much alcohol! Studies show those who drink a lot of alcohol have an increased risk of cancer, men having a higher risk than women.
5. Quit smoking!