Learn the Risks: Colon Cancer

Wed, 07/05/2017

Summer is upon us.  Lots of partying, sunbathing, and enjoying time spent with families and friends.  The last thing we want to think about is watching what we eat.  Why should we?  After all, we have earned the right to have fun and celebrate.

Yet, lurking in our body could be a potentially deadly disease called colorectal cancer.  Many of us have never even heard of it let alone think that it could ever affect them.

Here is some information to consider and be mindful of while we are soaking up the sun and eating to our hearts content:


Weight: As you gain body fat, your risk for colorectal cancer increases.

Alcohol: Risk for colorectal cancer increases as alcohol intake increases.

Inactivity: Regular physical activity protects against colorectal cancer, but a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk.

Age: The older you are, the greater your risk.

Red Meat: Diets high in beef, pork and lamb increase colorectal cancer risk, which is why AICR recommends limiting red meat to 18 ounces (cooked) per week.

Processed Meats: Regular intake of even small amounts of cold cuts, bacon, sausage and hot dogs have been shown to increase colorectal cancer risk, which is why AICR recommends avoiding these foods.


Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the US. Nearly 134,490 new cases of colorectal cancer occur annually. Just over half — nearly 70,820 — occur in men, while just over 63,670 occur in women.

Colorectal cancer is the third deadliest cancer in the US, killing almost 49,700 Americans every year.

As obesity rates have increased, the number of colorectal cancer cases has increased proportionately.


The lifetime risk for an adult American to develop colorectal cancer is approximately 6%. Fecal (stool) occult blood tests and flexible sigmoidoscopic examinations are the recommended screening tests for these individuals at average risk for developing colorectal cancer. These tests are designed to detect and to prompt removal of precancerous polyps and identify early cancers in order to decrease mortality from colorectal cancer. Stool testing and flexible sigmoidoscopy are affordable, easy to perform, and comfortable for healthy individuals.

Although this type of cancer is often detected in individuals over the age of 50, be mindful of the risk factors early on so you minimize the chance of becoming a victim of this disease.

Remember, take care of your body and it will take care of you.


Posted by: 
Estelle Coffino, Program Director - Allied Health Programs