Colon Cancer Risk Factors
- 3rd Most Common Cause of Cancer Death
- Family History of Colon Cancer
- Smoking & Alcohol Use
- Diets High in Red Meats & Processed Meats
- Physical Inactivity & Overweight
March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month. If you want to learn some alarming statistics about colon cancer, I direct you to The American Cancer Society website. In 2018, there will be an estimated 97,220 new cases of colon cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States. It's expected to cause about 50,630 deaths during 2018.
Unfortunately, many of my patients only focus on the family and genetic factors related to colon cancer, especially those who have no family history of colon cancer. The American Cancer Society website does a great job of outline those family and genetic history factors. However, there are other factors to keep in mind, including lifestyle factors like being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, certain types of diets (like those high in red meats and processed meats), a history of smoking, and heavy alcohol use. All of these factors may increase your chance of colon cancer.
Many patients tell me, "Doc, I'm never getting a colonoscopy." These days, there are many ways to screen for colon cancer, more than and in addition to colonoscopy. Cancer screening of all types and wellness issues are great topics to talk about with your personal physician. Talk about your risk factors with your physician, and talk about what type of cancer screening is best for you. Unfortunately, I'm seeing more and more instances of colon cancer that could have been prevented. Make that appointment with your physician. Don't become a statistic.