Colon cancer is the second leading cause of male and third leading cause of female cancer-related deaths in Canada. However, it is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. If screened and caught early, the chances of survival increase by 90% (Colon Cancer Canada). Furthermore, colon cancer may be prevented by identifying polyps on colonoscopy and removing them before they have a chance to develop into cancer. A Canadian Medical Journal article estimates that colonoscopy can reduce the incidence of colon cancer by 81%. Further more, a recent study has shown that colonoscopy and removal of adenomatous polyps can reduce mortality from colon cancer by 53%.

The lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 14 (7.1%) for men and 1 in 16 (6.3%) for women. Those at higher risk also include individuals with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, or a family history of colorectal cancer (mother, father or sibling).

Besides regular, recommended screenings, you can help decrease your risk of colorectal cancer by maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, eating fruits and vegetables (a high fiber diet) and limiting alcohol intake.

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