Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the U.S. Approximately 140,000 people are diagnosed with it each year, and 50,000 die from it. Since 2000, March has been designated as Colon Cancer Awareness Month with blue as its ribbon color. Each year, many organizations including the Colon Cancer Alliance join together to plan events, fundraiser, and spread the word.
Colon Cancer Facts
- Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S.
- 90% of cases occur in people 50 or older (average diagnosis is at age 72)
- People with an immediate relative who has colon cancer have 2-3 times the risk of developing the disease
- Geography actually plays a role in colon cancer risk. Studies have shown more incidences in the Midwest and the South, which can be due to high concentration of risk factors like diet, race and socioeconomic status
- African-American men and women have a higher risk of developing colon cancer and a lower survival rate
- Over 1 million colon cancer survivors are living in the U.S. Currently
Tips to Prevent Colon Cancer
Lifestyle choices do play a role in your risk of developing colon cancer. People who consume a high-fat diet from red meat and processed meat are at a higher risk for developing colon cancer. Those who lack exercise, consume excessive amounts of alcohol and smokers also put themselves at risk.
Get screened every 10 years once you turn 40. Colon cancer often starts as a polyp and progresses over a few years. Screening for cancer is crucial because it can detect a polyp prior to it becoming cancerous.
Studies have shown a link between smoking and colon cancer. Quitting smoking can not only reduce your risk of colon cancer, but other cancers and health issues as well.
How You Can Get Involved
Many groups are holding run/walks, and awareness events.
Participate in the “Get Blued” photo contest – The CCA has a contest for submitting and voting for people wearing blue. Submit yours and share it on social media! https://www.ccalliance.org/awareness-month/photo-contest/
Host your own community events such as
- Host a Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month event at a local senior center.
- Give out information about colorectal screenings, and ask a doctor or nurse to talk about the importance of getting screened.
- Hold a cooking demonstration with low-fat foods full of calcium and fiber, or make a video and share it online.
- Host an information night at your local library or community center to talk about ways to get more people in your community screened for colorectal cancer.
- Partner with local African American community organizations to encourage people to get screened for colorectal cancer.
And of course, share this information on social media, and consider donating.