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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month a great time to educate yourself about the disease and schedule a colorectal screening.
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death among men and women in the United States.
Preventive screenings helps detect colorectal cancer
Because this is a slow developing cancer, screenings can easily find and remove cells before they become cancerous. Deaths from colorectal cancer have decreased with the use of preventative screening including colonoscopies and fecal occult blood tests.
Screening is recommended for those who are age 50 and up. Those who have a family history of colorectal cancer should begin screening at a younger age.
Lowering the risk of colon cancer
There's other preventive measures you can take that may help lower the risk.
- Avoid excessive alcohol
- Avoid smoking
- Eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, poultry, and fish
- Get regular exercise
- Limit your intake of red meats, refined grains, and high fat foods
- Maintain a healthy weight
Additional health and wellness information
If you're a Highmark member, you have access to a secure, members-only website. Here you will find more information about colorectal cancer. To access the website, select the service region noted on your member ID card. After logging in, select the "Wellness" tab. Type "colorectal cancer" in the search field.