Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States for men and women. (5) In a 2020 study from the American Cancer Society, it was estimated that approximately 147,950 Americas would be diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer and 53,200 would die from the disease. (2) Over time abnormal growth, also called polyps, may form in the colon or rectum and may turn cancerous. (3) Fortunately, screening tests can find these polyps so that they can be safely removed before they turn cancerous.

Who is at risk?
Although doctors aren’t exactly certain what causes Colorectal Cancer, factors such as being above the age of 50 or having a family history of colorectal cancer make it more likely for the cancer to develop. (4) Other risk factors may include:

  • A Low-Fiber, High-Fat Diet
  • Smoking
  • Heavy Use of Alcohol
  • Lack of Physical Activity

Reducing the Risks of Colorectal Cancer
If you or a loved one are at risk of Colorectal Cancer, changes in one’s lifestyle and habits may reduce the risk of developing the polyps that cause Colorectal Cancer: (5)

  • High-Fiber, Low-Fat Diet: Fiber leaves your stomach undigested and ends in your color leading to healthy benefits such as lower blood sugar levels and bulking your digestive tract. (6)
  • Stop Smoking: A heavy smoking habit may increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Moderate Exercise: Multiple resources point out that maintaining a healthy weight has shown to reduce the impact of developing colorectal cancer.
  • Screening: The most recommended option by doctors when it comes to preventing colorectal cancer or intervening to minimize the spread and effects of the cancer

Screening
It is recommended that those at an average risk of Colorectal Cancer consider a Colorectal Cancer screening around the age of 50. (4) Most cases of colorectal cancers start as precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum. Although these polyps may not cause any symptoms, a colorectal cancer screening is an effective way of finding these polyps before they turn cancerous. (3) Multiple screening tests exist:

  • Stool Tests
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Test
  • Colonoscopy
  • CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy)

It is recommended that you communicate with your doctor about your options and which tests are best suited for you. Each test is carried out differently and has their own advantages and disadvantages. Your preferences should be communicated between you and your doctor. The American Cancer Society states that Colorectal Cancer “incidence and mortality trends partly reflect the uptake of CRC screening.” Treatment for Colorectal Cancer is most effective during its early stages. Up-to-Date screening can lead to treatments with the highest chances of removing or destroying the cancer.

Making the Right Adjustments
While treatment can be effective against Colorectal Cancer, for some people Colorectal Cancer may never completely go away. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other treatments are all possibilities one might need to consider so that the cancer is controlled for as long as possible.

The challenge of learning to live with cancer can be a hard and stressful journey. Between doctor visits and physical exams, it may seem overwhelming trying to manage such a major change to one’s lifestyle. However, Assistance in Home Care understands the difficulty of caring for a loved one with chronic conditions, including those who have or have had cancer. Our in-home caregivers excel in providing the assistance one needs to comfortably adapt to life’s new challenges while maintaining their independence and dignity in the comfort of their own home. For more information and resources on Colorectal Cancer, visit the American Cancer Society’s page down below.

 

References

American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/special-coverage/how-acs-fights-colon-cancer.html#:~:text=March%20is%20National%20Colorectal%20Cancer,may%20be%20easier%20to%20treat.

American Cancer Society Journal: https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21601

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/basic_info/index.htm

Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/colon-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20353669

Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/155598

Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/22-high-fiber-foods