Rectal Cancer Prevention: What You Need to Know

Colorectal cancer is a serious condition where cancerous cells form in the tissues of the rectum and/or the colon. Most people start getting screened for this condition after the age of 45, although some people with a higher risk need to be screened earlier. Whatever the case, it’s important to be aware of this problem and its symptoms. 

While you may not be able to fully prevent the formation of colorectal cancer, there are things you can do to help yourself avoid some issues associated with it. And especially if you have a family history of this illness, it’s important to do all you can to care for yourself. 

We at Boca Care Surgical Associates want to do everything we can to avoid — rather than treat — severe conditions like rectal cancer. Our provider, Avraham Belizon, MD, FACS, FASCRS, is ready to offer you the best advice as well as any additional treatments you may require. 

Colorectal cancer 101 

These cancers are often mentioned together because cancer that starts in the rectum or in the colon often winds up affecting both parts of the body. The symptoms for both types are very similar, and they’re very closely linked. 

With colorectal cancer, at first, you may not notice any symptoms at all. This is just one reason why prevention is so important. Over time, however, you may begin to notice symptoms like changes in your bowel habits, blood in your stool, weight loss, fatigue, or abdominal pain.  

Colorectal cancer is often genetic, being passed through your family. If you have a family history of this condition, it’s very important to be aware of it. A history of adenomas, FAP or Lynch syndrome, Crohn’s disease, or chronic ulcerative colitis are also risk factors. Unfortunately, many of these factors can’t be prevented. 

Prevention is possible: 4 ways to minimize your risk of colorectal cancer 

But what if there were certain things you could do to prevent colorectal cancer? They may not be able to make all the difference, but it never hurts to manage your risk factors in order to minimize your likelihood of developing a dangerous illness like this.

1. Manage your diet 

Eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — as well as avoiding animal fats in most cases — may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. Processed and red meats should be avoided whenever possible, as these are linked to an increased risk of the illness. 

2. Avoiding cigarettes and alcohol

Alcohol and cigarettes are two of the biggest risk factors for colorectal cancer. Drinking three or more alcoholic drinks per day particularly increases your chances of developing this condition, and smoking, which is linked to many types of cancer, is also linked to colorectal cancer. If you choose not to smoke and drink, it will be better for your chances of avoiding this condition. 

3. Taking supplements 

Certain vitamins and supplements, like magnesium, folic acid, vitamin D, and calcium, have all been linked to certain studies that found them to potentially lower one’s risk of developing colorectal cancer. You might want to discuss which (if any) supplements could be effective for your health, or if a daily multivitamin might be best. 

4. Get screened 

Screenings are one of the absolute best ways to catch colorectal cancer early, which is the best possible time to treat the condition. But even better, your provider can potentially find noncancerous polyps before they become a problem and have them removed. This is a great way to prevent the condition. 

After the age of 45, those with low risk of developing colorectal cancer should get screened every 10 years with a colonoscopy. If you have a higher risk of developing this condition, you may need more frequent screenings or to start them earlier in your life. 

It doesn’t hurt to use preventative measures

When it comes to colorectal cancer, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. Make sure you know how to manage your health and what to look for when it comes to this condition, and you can do more to protect yourself in the long run. 

To make an appointment at our Boca Raton, Florida, office today, call 561-395-2626, or visit us online. We look forward to meeting you!

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