March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month


Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects people in all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people age 50 and older.

It was early 1999 when colon cancer started making waves across the country. Jay Monahan, NBC News legal analyst and husband of the beloved Katie Couric, had recently lost his battle with the disease and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable was just getting off the ground.

In 2000, Congress designated March as National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, along with then President Bill Clinton, who signed a White House Proclamation officially designating the month.

The good news?

If everyone age 50 and older were screened regularly, 6 out of 10 deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to encourage people to get screened.

Risk factors:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • High consumption of red meat and processed meat
  • Low physical activity
  • Nutrient deficiencies such as folate and vitamin B6
  • High BMI (body mass index)
  • Low vegetable consumption

How can Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month make a difference?

We can use this month to raise awareness about colorectal cancer and take action toward prevention. Communities, organizations, families, and individuals can get involved and spread the word.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Encourage families to get active together – exercise may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Talk to family, friends, and people in your community about the importance of getting screened for colorectal cancer starting at age 50.
  • Ask doctors and nurses to talk to patients age 50 and older about the importance of getting screened.

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