If anything, the year 2020 has taught us that our health is the most important factor and we cannot take it for granted.Colorectal cancer affects the colon and rectum, which are parts of the digestive system, and is the third most common cancer in India. In many cases, colorectal cancer can be prevented through early detection and treatment. That’s why National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is so important.
The number of CRC-related deaths is estimated to be approximately 6,08,000 worldwide, accounting for 8% of all cancer deaths and making CRC the fourth most common cause of death due to cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer type worldwide; in 2020, almost 2 million cases were diagnosed. In India, the annual incidence rates (AARs) for colon cancer and rectal cancer in men are 4.4 and 4.1 per 1,00,000, respectively. The AAR for colon cancer in women is 3.9 per 1,00,000. Colon cancer ranks 8th and rectal cancer ranks 9th among men. For women, rectal cancer does not figure in the top 10 cancers, whereas colon cancer ranks 9th.
Significance of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
March is recognized as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is observed in March to emphasise the importance of cancer screening for colorectal cancer and to promote healthy lifestyle habits that can reduce a person’s risk of developing cancer of the colon, rectum, or anus – the three distinct cancer types referred to collectively as colorectal cancer. The purpose of this awareness month is to encourage people to learn about the risk factors and symptoms of colorectal cancer, as well as the importance of early detection through regular screening.The awareness month aims to educate people about the importance of getting screened for colorectal cancer, especially if they have a family history of the disease or are over the age of 50. The awareness month also emphasises the need for a healthy lifestyle, which can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.One in 24 people will be diagnosed with CRC in their lifetime, but you can make a difference today.
Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer and Steps to Reduce Your Risk for getting CRC
Several risk factors can increase a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer. Some of the most significant risk factors include:
- Age: Colorectal cancer is more common in people over the age of 50.
- Family history: If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, your risk of developing the disease is higher.
- Inflammatory bowel disease: People with inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, are at a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Lifestyle factors: An unhealthy lifestyle, such as a diet high in red and processed meats, low in fruits and vegetables, and lack of exercise, can increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Smoking and alcohol consumption: Smoking and heavy alcohol consumption can increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
While some risk factors for colorectal cancer are beyond our control, there are several studies that have shown us some steps we can take to reduce our risk. Some of the most effective steps include:
- Getting screened regularly: Regular screening can help detect colorectal cancer early, when it is most treatable.
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Obesity is a known risk factor for colorectal cancer, so maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help lower your risk.
- Eating a healthy diet: A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in red and processed meats has been linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer. It is important to increase fibre intake, vitamin C, E, as they are all protective against colorectal cancer.
- Limiting alcohol consumption: Heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer, so it is best to limit your alcohol intake.
- Quitting smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer, including colorectal cancer, so quitting smoking can help reduce your risk.
Colorectal cancer is actually a disease of elderly population,and like all other cancers,if diagnosed early can be cured 100%.Early Detection Saves your Life.National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is an important opportunity to raise awareness about the risk factors and symptoms of colorectal cancer in India.If you get early treatment, long term survival is possible in colorectal cancers.
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