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Colorectal cancer affects the large intestine (colon) or the rectum. Because colon cancers and rectal cancers have many features in common, you can refer to them together as “colorectal cancer.” Cancerous tumors that begin in the colon or rectum may also spread to other parts of the body.

For more information or to schedule your colonoscopy, call Springfield Clinic at 217.528.7541.

Our doctors in Colon & Rectal Surgery and Gastroenterology recommend getting screened regularly after turning 50—it could save your life! Screening tests, the most common of which is a colonoscopy, help find abnormal growths before they turn into cancerous tumors, so they can be removed. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about one-third of adults over 50 have not been screened for colorectal cancer. 

For more information or to schedule your colonoscopy, call Springfield Clinic at 217.528.7541.

Read more about risks, symptoms, and preventive steps

Fast Facts about Colorectal Cancer

  • Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women and the second highest cause of cancer-related death. 
  • The lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer (for everyone) is approximately 4.2%.
  • The five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer diagnosed at an early, localized stage is 89.8%; the five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer once it has spread is 13.8%.
  • The number of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer, as well as the number of deaths caused by it, have dropped in recent years, attributed to more people scheduling colonoscopies and getting screened for abnormal growths.

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

You might not have symptoms right away from colorectal cancer, which is why getting screened regularly is so important. You could have the beginnings of colorectal cancer and not know it. 

When colorectal cancer does cause symptoms, they are:

  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • A change in your bowel movements that lasts for more than a few days (number, texture, size)
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
  • Blood in your bowel movements
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Unintended weight loss

Preventing Colorectal Cancer with Diet

The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is by getting regular screening tests, such as a colonoscopy. However, there are other ways to help maintain a healthy body and prevent colorectal cancer, as well as other deadly diseases. One of those is by eating a healthy diet. 

Do eat:

  • High-fiber whole grains, including whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice and barley
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and romaine lettuce
  • Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts

Green leafy vegetables are important because they contain carotenoids. Carotenoids help prevent cancer by acting as antioxidants. Folate, also contained in these veggies, may offer protection against colorectal cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer.

Cruciferous vegetables contain substances that have been associated with a lower risk for cancer. They may help protect against cancers in the breast, endometrium (cervical), lung, colon and liver. 

Limit your consumption of:

  • Foods rich in animal fats
  • Red meat
  • Alcohol

Diets high in red meat have been associated with an increased risk for colon cancer. To eat less meat, think of fruits, vegetables and whole grains as the entrée at meals, with meat as the side dish. 

You can drink a little, but it would be better to not drink at all. Alcohol has been associated with an increased risk for colon cancer.