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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a time when people around the world come together to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and prevention of this disease. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the US, with approximately 52,580 people in the U.S. dying of colorectal cancer in 2022. The good news is that colorectal cancer is highly preventable and can often be detected early through routine screening tests.

This March, Permian Regional Medical Center is committed to raising awareness about this serious disease that affects an alarming number of people, encouraging early detection and treatment, and reducing fatalities.
Keep reading to learn more about colorectal cancer and the steps you can take to prevent it.

What Is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the colon or rectum, which are parts of the digestive system. It usually develops slowly over several years and begins as a small growth called a polyp. Over time, some polyps can turn cancerous.

The symptoms of colorectal cancer can vary depending on the location and size of the tumor, but some common symptoms include blood in the stool, changes in bowel habits, and abdominal pain or discomfort.

Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors

Colorectal cancer can affect anyone, but certain risk factors can increase your chances of developing the disease. Some of these risk factors include:
Age: Colorectal cancer is more common in people over 50.
Family history: If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, you may be at higher risk.
Personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps: If you have had colorectal cancer or polyps in the past, you are at a higher risk of developing the disease again.
Inflammatory bowel disease: People with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease may be at higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Unhealthy lifestyle: Lack of physical activity, a diet high in red meat and processed foods, or being overweight can increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Preventing Colorectal Cancer

March is the month for spreading awareness about preventive measures and promoting the importance of screening. Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer, and by making healthy lifestyle choices and getting regular screenings, you can reduce your risk of developing the disease. Some steps you can take to prevent colorectal cancer include the following:
Eating a healthy diet: Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limit your intake of red meat and processed foods.
Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Exercising regularly: Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days.
Not smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer and many other types of cancer.
Getting screened: Regular screenings can help detect colorectal cancer early when it is most treatable.

At Permian Regional Medical Center, we offer services to help patients prevent and detect colorectal cancer. March is the ideal month to meet our experienced team of healthcare professionals who can provide screenings such as colonoscopies and fecal immunochemical tests. We aim to deliver exceptional healthcare to all our patients in a comfortable environment. Contact us for more details.

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