The month of March was dedicated by President Clinton in 2000 as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month—shedding light on the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 22 men and 1 in 24 women will develop this cancer, and the U.S. will see 140,250 new cases of colon and rectal cancers this year alone (1). Now is the time to take action and learn which preventative measures are available to stay protected from this disease.
What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer is a term used to describe both colon and rectal cancers. Anatomically speaking, these body parts are similar in location. “The colon is approximately five feet long and is separated into the proximal colon (the first portion attached to the small intestine) and the distal colon (the second portion attached to the rectum). The rectum is the last six to 12 inches of the colon that extends to the anus,” according to VeryWell.com (5).
What are the symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?
The American Cancer Society says “many of the symptoms can also be caused by something that isn’t cancer such as infection, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease” (6). Symptoms may include:
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
- Rectal bleeding
- Dark stools, or blood in the stool
- Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unintended weight loss
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor (6).
What are the causes of Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer usually begins as polyps that form on the inner walls of the large intestine. One type of polyp called adenomatous polyps start off as benign but can become cancerous. These polyps can be tricky to detect as they can appear to be the normal lining of the colon but, under a microscope, they look different. Another common variety—hyperplastic polyps—are usually benign. Polyps can be detected and removed during a colonoscopy to be sent for testing (2).
Cancers can be inherited through genes from family members. However, most colorectal cancers occur in people without a family history. It is also possible to be born with a random genetic mutation that could cause cancer when an environmental factor triggers it (2).
A history of smoking, poor diet, obesity, and living a sedentary lifestyle could put you at higher risk. Age also plays a factor. 91 percent of those diagnosed with colorectal cancer are over 50 years old. Conditions such as diabetes and inflammatory bowel diseases can also put people at higher risks (2).
How can I prevent Colorectal Cancer?
- Get screened.
- Colorectal cancer can be detected and treated early with regular screenings. There are several options for getting tested including a simple blood test, colonoscopy, and more. Most begin getting tested at age 50, but people with a family history of colorectal cancer should begin testing earlier to help prevent the disease. Talk to your doctor about getting screened (3).
- Stay active and eat a healthy diet.
- Studies have shown that there is a link between obesity and cancers. A healthy diet coupled with a consistent exercise routine can help you lose extra fat and keep the weight off (3).
- Get your body moving with at least 30 minutes of moderate activity per day. Moderate activity can include anything from exercising at the gym to cleaning around the house. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity as well as colon cancer (3).
- Limit your alcohol intake. Two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women is the recommended maximum to stay healthy and keep extra weight off (3).
- Diets rich in saturated fats, processed foods, and sugar but deficient in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have shown to be closely associated with higher colon cancer risk (7). You should also limit the amount of red meat and processed meat in your diet. Less than three servings per week is best to keep your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels down and keep your heart healthy (3).
- Avoid Smoking.
- Smoking tobacco is known to cause various cancers including colon cancer (3).
- Take nutritional supplements.
In addition to these nutrients, a recent study has found that reservatrol, a nutrient found in certain plants, can suppress colon cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are the cells that promote the creation of new cancer cells and tumors. In the study, reservatrol reduced the number of cancer tumors by 50 percent (4).
Reservatrol can be found in purple grapes, red wine, raspberries, blueberries, peanuts, and more. Reservatrol combined with grape seed extract has been discovered to be an even stronger cancer-fighting remedy. The study found that grape seed extract can increase the potency of reservatrol (4).
The good news is that both reservatrol and grape seed extract are found in our OPCxtra super antioxidant formula. Eating a perfectly balanced diet and getting the correct nutrients isn’t always easy, but one serving a day of our supplement can get you started on your path to colorectal cancer prevention. Click here to learn more about OPCxtra and start protecting your body today.
Key Statistics for Colorectal Cancer. (n.d.). Retrieved March 04, 2018, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
Crosta, P. (2017, December 1). Everything you need to know about colon cancer. Retrieved March 4, 2018, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150496.php
8 Ways to Prevent Colon Cancer – Take Control. (n.d.). Retrieved March 04, 2018, from https://siteman.wustl.edu/prevention/take-proactive-control/8-ways-to-prevent-colon-cancer/
Schoffro Cook, M. (2017, July 1). The Fruit that Protects against Colon Cancer | Care2 Healthy Living. Retrieved March 04, 2018, from https://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-fruit-that-protects-against-colon-cancer.html
Fayed, L. (2017, July 13). Is There a Difference Between Colorectal and Colon Cancer? Retrieved March 04, 2018, from https://www.verywell.com/colon-cancer-and-colorectal-cancer-are-they-the-same-513949
Signs and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer. (n.d.). Retrieved March 04, 2018, from https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/signs-and-symptoms-of-colon-cancer.html