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May 13, 2009

Colorectal Cancer :


Facts
Colorectal (colon and rectum) cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States. About 150,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Most develop from polyps, growths that originate in the mucous lining of the colon or rectum. These grow slowly and can be detected by means of effective, easily performed tests, making colorectal cancer one of the most curable forms of cancer.

Colorectal Cancer Causes and Risk Factors
The cause of cancer of the colon and rectum isn't known, but it's believed that the disease is associated with a diet high in fat and low in fiber (roughage). Not surprisingly, colorectal cancer is more common in Western countries, where the diet tends to be highly refined, with less roughage. People over age 50 are more susceptible, and African-American men have a slightly higher risk. Anyone with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer, polyps in the colon, or ulcerative colitis is at particularly high risk and exposure to asbestos has been identified as a risk factor.

Colorectal Cancer Symptoms
The most common symptom is bleeding with bowel movements. Other symptoms include pain during bowel movements, change in frequency of bowel habits, change in stools, abdominal pain or swelling, fatigue, anemia, and weight loss.

Early Detection and Prevention
Colorectal cancer is very curable when found early and there are several things you can do to lower your risks:
* Eat at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day.
* Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
* Have a digital rectal examination every year after age 40.
* Have a stool blood test every year after age 50.
* Have a flexible sigmoidoscopy at age 50, and then, after two normal examinations a year apart, every three to five years.
* If you are over 50 and notice blood in your stools, see your doctor immediately.

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