March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Colorectal Cancer. It is March already can you believe it? In my cancer journey, I have learned that every month of the calendar acknowledges some sort of cancer type and in this month of March, we acknowledge Colorectal Cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, “Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women. It is the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, and the second overall when men and women are combined in the US.” This doesn’t sound like good news, considering how much research, time, money, and energy is invested in seeking the cure. I wonder though what is causing this common cancer to continue to be on the rise in our population and throughout the world.
What is colorectal cancer?
We already know that cancer is a disease characterized by the unchecked division and survival of abnormal cells. When this type of abnormal growth occurs in the colon or rectum, it is called colorectal cancer (CRC). The colon and the rectum combined are referred to as the large intestine which is considered the final part of the gastrointestinal (GI) system, which processes food for energy and rids the body of solid waste (fecal matter -stool).
What are the risks of developing colorectal cancer?
Well, it is said that genetics and family history may have an influence. However, it is my opinion that although you may be predisposed to develop such a disease it doesn’t mean it will happen to you. I do think that our lifestyle dictates a lot more than we think. Our 90% our routine will most definitely impact or physical being. Our food, our physical activity, our thoughts, our emotions, etc. According to the American Cancer Society, “aside from age and race, many of the known risk factors for CRC are behaviors traditionally associated with high-income countries, such as a sedentary lifestyle, Western diet, and smoking.” My question to you is… Do you have control over these factors? ABSOLUTELY!
Let’s explore a few of them on more detail:
- Family History.- Up to 30% of CRC patients have a family history of the disease, about 5% of which are due to an inherited genetic abnormality.” Do you see that 5%? this means you have 95% control of possible outcomes.
- Personal Medical History.- People with a history of polyps, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity are at higher risk.
- Behavioral Risk Factors.- These include physical inactivity, overweight, diet, lack of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, lack of vitamin D, smoking, and alcohol.
This may seem a little scary if you have relatives diagnosed with CRC however as you can see, you have a lot of control of your health outcomes based on your present choices.
What are the symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?
Early stages of CRC usually present no symptoms, however, as tumor growths, it may bleed or cause obstruction. These are usually the most common symptoms:
- Excessive fatigue
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Blood in the stool or in the toilet after a bowel movement
- Dark or black stools
- A change in bowel movements
- Lower abdomen discomfort
- An urge to have a bowel movement when the bowel is empty
What can you do to prevent colorectal cancer?
Prevention is key and I can’t stress enough as to how important it is to advocate for yourself by the choices you make today. Based on the information I just shared with you, there’s a lot you and I have control of and that is our daily lifestyle choices. Here are a few tips I believe can help with cancer prevention:
- Follow colorectal cancer screenings
- Eat whole foods
- Limit processed foods and red meat
- Cut down on processed sugars & carbs
- Limit alcohol
- Lower your risk with SUPERFOODS
- Choose healthy fats
- Add supplements to your daily routine like vitamin D
- Practice Prayer
- Be intentional to keep your mind & thoughts positive
As you can see there is a lot of room for us to take charge of our health to help us prevent chronic illnesses such as cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women. However, what matters is our 90%, what we choose to do daily. You don’t have to be a victim of cancer, you are empowered with knowledge and the choice is yours. I sincerely hope you have found this short but accurate blog article helpful and as always I welcome your comments and encouragement. Sending you much love, healing, and blessings!
Freedom is a choice … “so if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36