March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Who is affected by Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people who are 50 years old or older. Of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. Colorectal cancer screening saves lives. Screening can find precancerous polyps—abnormal growths in the colon or rectum—that can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment works best.

What Is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum.

What are the risk factors for Colorectal Cancer?

Your risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you get older. More than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older. Other risk factors include having:

    • 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)External or hereditary non-polyposis 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, or a diet high in processed meats
    • Overweight and obesity
    • Alcohol consumption
    • Tobacco use

For more information about colorectal cancer, visit

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

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