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Are You at Risk for Colorectal Cancer?

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Are You at Risk for Colorectal Cancer?

It’s probably the cancer we speak of least, and feel most uncomfortable about, but colorectal cancer affects one in 14 Canadians. Learn the risk factors.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness and Nutrition Month. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Canada, affecting one in 14 Canadians over their lifetime.

Do you know the risk factors?
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, there isn’t a single cause of colorectal cancer, but these factors increase your risk.

Age  •    over 50

Family  history

  • a family history of colorectal cancer, especially if your relative (parent, sibling) developed the disease before the age of 45
  • having familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)

Ethnic background

  • an Ashkenazi (Eastern European Jewish) background

Diet

  • high consumption of red meat (beef, pork, and lamb)
  • consumption of processed meats (ham, sausage, salami, hotdogs)

Alcohol consumption

Smoking

Physical inactivity

Obesity

Other health conditions

  • having polyps (small growths on the colon’s inner wall and rectum)
  • having inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative  colitis)

On Thursday we’ll look at the role diet can play in the prevention of colorectal cancer—especially the protective effects of fruit, fibre, and vegetables.

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