2018-04-04 / Front Page

Colorectal cancer is second leading cancer killer

Purdue Extension Corner

The American Cancer Society (2017) reports colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. They also report one in twenty-two men, and one in twenty-four women will have a diagnoses of colorectal cancer within their life. However, many people many begin to wonder what exactly is colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is a cancer that takes place in the colon or rectum. At times abnormal growth, called polyps, develop in the colon or rectum. Whereas, overtime these polyps may turn into cancer. The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as we age.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports than 90 percent of colorectal cancer occurs in individuals over the age of 50. Additional risk identified by the Center For Disease Control and Prevention include:

• Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

• A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps.

• A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome).

Lifestyle factors that may contribute to an increased risk of colorectal cancer include—

• Lack of regular physical activity.

• A diet low in fruit and vegetables.

• A low-fiber and high-fat diet.

• Overweight and obesity.

• Alcohol consumption.

• Tobacco use.

An individual may or may not experience symptoms of colorectal cancer. Therefore, getting a colorectal cancer screening test can be lifesaving (CDC, 2017). Colorectal cancer screening test are able to find precancerous polyps, needing to be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening test also help find colorectal cancer early, in which can help with treatment.

Many individuals have attested and shared their story of a colorectal cancer screening saving their lives. Whereas, these stories may found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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(by Jennifer Cannon, Extension Educator Health & Human Sciences Purdue Extension - Putnam County)

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