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Each year in the month of March, Colorectal Cancer Awareness is promoted. Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people ages 50 and older. I imagine no one really wants to talk about caring for your colon, but since it's the fourth most common cancer and the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States, it's worth mentioning.
The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to eat a high-fiber diet. Of all the cancer cases, only 5–10% can be attributed to genetic defects; the remaining 90–95% are directly correlated to environment and lifestyle.
Research shows that eating more whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables (high-fiber diet) while cutting back on NON-FIBER foods (meat, cheese, processed and packaged foods) will promote a healthy colon and reduce your risk of cancer. A review of all studies on the topic has shown eating 10 grams of fiber per day can reduce the risk of bowel cancer by around 10%. However, the Recommended Daily Allowance is 30-38 grams per day.
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Practicing the art of self-directed health care is your responsibility. There are so few things in this world that we have control over, yet there are elements of your health that are profoundly influenced by your power of choice.
People over age 50 have the highest risk of colorectal cancer. You may also be at higher risk if you are African American, smoke, or have a family history of colorectal cancer. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer – that’s why it’s so important to get screened.
Everyone can take these healthy steps to help prevent colorectal cancer: