Take steps to prevent colorectal cancer during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

DAYTON, OHIO—In 2016, doctors will diagnose more than 95,000 new cases of colon cancer and 39,000 cases of rectal cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Colorectal cancer, cancer of the colon or rectum, is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States. Almost 50,000 people will die from colorectal cancer in 2016.

During the month of March, which is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, doctors at Wright State Physicians Surgical Oncology are encouraging people ages 50 and older to talk with their primary care physician about getting screened for pre-cancer or cancer. A colonoscopy is recommended every 10 years. Those at higher risk may need to get screened at an earlier age.

James R. Ouellette, D.O., associate professor of surgery at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine and director of the Division of Surgical Oncology at Wright State Physicians, says there are steps that people can take to reduce their risk for colorectal cancer. He recommends being physically active for 30 minutes five days a week; maintaining a healthy weight; quitting smoking; limiting alcohol; eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains; and eating less red meat and processed meat.

“Screening tests can detect colorectal cancer early, when it can be more easily and successfully treated,” he said. “Colorectal cancer can be prevented by the removal of polyps, which are grape-like growths on the wall of the intestine, before they become cancerous. Most polyps are removed during a colonoscopy procedure.”