Q & A: How to Limit Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is a tale of two age groups. Although the disease is still more common in people older than 50, rates have been falling for this population. But among those younger than 50, colorectal cancer rates have risen since the early ’90s.
What’s to blame? Find the answer to that (and more) below:
Why are more young people at risk?
Studies suggest that eating habits and obesity play a role. If you’re a young adult, choosing a healthy diet and managing your weight may help. If you’re in the 50-plus group, the same tactics complement regular screening.
What’s the best diet to prevent colorectal cancer?
Eating lots of red meat has been linked to an increased risk for colorectal cancer. Meanwhile, diets rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains might decrease the risk.
Besides consuming more fruits and veggies and less red meat, you can fine-tune your menu in other ways that may help lower your risk for colorectal cancer:
- Limit your intake of processed meats.
- Avoid drinking alcohol in excess.
Balance the calories you get from food with the ones you burn through regular exercise, too. An inactive lifestyle and obesity are risk factors for colorectal cancer.
When should I start getting screening tests?
Medical opinions vary about when to begin screening for colorectal cancer: age 45 or 50. Talk with your health care provider to determine the right schedule for you. Even if you feel healthy, bring up the conversation—screening helps detect cancer early, when it’s easier to treat.
Do I have to get a colonoscopy?
Not necessarily. When it comes to the screening process, you have several options, including:
- Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test
- Fecal immunochemical test
- Stool DNA test
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- CT colonography
Your provider can help you choose the best screening method for you.
Should I see a genetic counselor?
Depending on your personal and family health history, you might have an increased risk for colorectal cancer.
For more information and to determine if you should consider genetic counseling, see below.
Norwalk Hospital or call 203-852-3352
Danbury Hospital or call or call 203-739-4958