March is National Colorectal Awareness Month, when cancer survivors and patients, along with their caregivers, are encouraged to help inform their friends, family and neighbors about the importance of early detection, which can help prevent and treat colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer can start in the colon or the rectum and is grouped together and called colorectal cancer because both cancers share similar features and symptoms. Cancer begins when cells of the body start to grow out of control.
One of the most powerful tools to prevent colorectal cancer is screening to look for cancer or pre-cancer in people 45 and older who have no disease symptoms.
Abnormal cells that grow into polyps usually take 10 to 15 years to develop into colorectal cancer. With regular screening, doctors can find and remove most polyps before they turn into cancer, according to the American Cancer Society
website. Colorectal screening is one of the most powerful tools to prevent colorectal cancer.
There are several types of tests used to screen for colorectal cancer, and people should check with their doctor to find out which is best for them.
According to the American Cancer Society, exercising, keeping a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and greens, not smoking, avoiding moderate to heavy alcohol use and maintaining proper vitamin D blood levels might help prevent colorectal cancer in both men and women.