Colorectal Cancer Awareness – Brought to you by Senior Extra at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center

MOORESVILLE, NC (February 26, 2013) – Screening is important … Colorectal cancer most often affects those who are 50 or older, but did you know there’s an effective way to reduce your risk? Have regular colorectal cancer screening tests beginning at age 50.

Of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S. — but it doesn't have to be. If everybody aged 50 or older had regular screening tests, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 60 percent of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and Lake Norman Regional Medical Center’s Senior Extra program is dedicated to raising awareness about the risk factors for the disease and what you can do to lower your risk.

Risk factors you can’t control

Colorectal cancer affects people of all racial and ethnic groups, and is the third most common cancer for men and women. Although the exact cause of most colorectal cancers is unknown, some conditions may increase a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer, including:

  • Age. According to the American Cancer Society, more than nine out of 10 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are at least 50 years old.
  • A personal history of colorectal polyps or cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease).
  • A family history of colorectal cancer.
  • Inherited syndromes, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).

What you can do to lower your risk

Precancerous polyps, which are abnormal growths, can be present in the colon for years before cancer develops. Someone could have polyps or even be in the early stages of colorectal cancer and experience no symptoms — that’s why it’s so important to have regular screenings.

“Colorectal screening makes it possible for us to find and remove polyps before they become cancerous,” said Dr. S. Jacob Nadakav, Internal Medicine. “It also allows us to find cancer at the earliest stages, when it’s most treatable.”

The most effective way to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer is by having regular colorectal cancer screening tests beginning at age 50. Some studies have also shown that you may lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer by:

  • Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Eating a diet low in animal fats and high in vegetables, fruits and whole-grain products.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding smoking.

If you’re 50 or older, don’t delay: Talk to your doctor about colorectal screening and how often you should be tested. The best way to protect yourself against colorectal cancer is by catching it in the precancerous stages, and the best way to do that is through screening.

About Lake Norman Regional Medical Center

Lake Norman Regional Medical Center offers comprehensive medical care to individuals throughout the greater Lake Norman region. Located just off I-77 at Exit 33, the Mooresville medical campus offers complete specialty services from 24-hour emergency medicine and maternity to oncology and advanced surgical services. 

About Senior Extra

Ever-changing advancements in health care allow us to live longer and improve our overall health. Providing the latest information about health advancements through monthly seminars and events is just one facet of Senior Extra. To sign up for a free membership, visit www.SeniorExtra.com.