Even though, Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month has passed in March, we believe you can never have enough awareness and education on this disease. In addition, only yearly detection and preventative steps can help to identify and a ddress the development of this very serious disease. Colon cancer is the second most leading cancer killer in the United States, following lung cancer in men and breast cancer in women. Every year, over 140,000 Americans are diagnosed as having colorectal cancer. Of this population, an estimated 44% will die as a result of this disease. Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum. It is as common in women as it is in men. Although a leading cause of cancer death, if detected early, colorectal cancer can be more easily and successfully treated. AT-RISK GROUPS Alaska Natives and American Indians, African-Americans and Hispanics are less likely to be screened for colorectal cancer and less likely to be diagnosed in early, more easily treated stages of the disease than non-Hispanic Whites. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among both African-American men and women. COLORECTAL CANCER PREVENTION Be physically active for at least 30 minutes, at least 5 days a week. Maintain a healthy weight. Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit. If you drink alcohol, have no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman or two drinks if you’re a man. Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains to help you get and stay healthy. Eat less red meat and cut out processed meat. The number one thing you can do is get screened. Early Detection is the key–Ask your Doctor! COLORECTAL SCREENING SAVES LIVES All tests can detect colorectal cancer early, and some of them can also find pre-cancers. With certain types of diagnostic tests, this cancer can be prevented by removing polyps (grape-like growths on the wall of the intestine) before they become cancerous. TIP: If you’re at average risk for colorectal cancer, start getting screened at age 50. If you’re at higher risk, you may need to start regular screening at an earlier age and be screened more often. The best time to get screened is before you have any symptoms! As you are getting ready for summer vacations, take a moment to assess where your health is at today. Make choices that will lead to more healthy lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. And talk to your health care professional about your personal risk factors and when a screening may be appropriate. Make your health a priority now, don’t wait!!