Calculating Your Colorectal Cancer RiskIN NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN MEDICINE
According to the National Cancer Institute, the second leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S. is colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is preventable and treatable, however, if the risks are understood and the proper screenings are performed to spot any possible problems. As a result, the National Cancer Institute is now offering a free online tool to help you calculate your personal colorectal cancer risk.
Using the Tool
It is surprisingly easy to access the Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (www.cancer.gov/colorectalcancerrisk) and use it to understand your and figure out ways you can lower it. Questions on the assessment tool include inquiries about your:
- family history
- level of physical activity
- past colorectal cancer screenings.
The tool takes only a few seconds to calculate your colorectal cancer risk. After the calculations are completed, you are presented with an analysis of your risk for developing the disease over the next year, the next five years, and your entire lifetime.
While this is a valuable tool for assessing the risk of colorectal cancer, the National Cancer Institute cautions users against believing a low risk means that they should not undergo routine colonoscopies. Patients can use the information to become informed about their health risk for developing this condition. Also, the tool’s results should be shared with your primary care physician.
|Preventing Colorectal Cancer
While you can’t control your age, gender, or family history, there are several risk factors for colorectal cancer are under your control.
Beyond undergoing routine colonoscopies every 10 years after age 50—or under the recommendations of your primary care physician—you can also control your risk for colorectal cancer by being physically active. The American Cancer Society says 45 minutes to an hour of exercise on 5 or more days every week may help prevent cancer.
Eating well might also lower your risk. A diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in red meat and processed foods may lower your risk. Consider incorporating whole grains and five or more servings of fruits and vegetables into your daily diet.
Sources: www.nih.gov, www.cancer.gov, www.cancer.org© 2013. True North Custom Media. All Rights Reserved.