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Rates of colorectal cancer are on the rise in young adults. Adults born between 1981 and 1996, also known as millennials, are at a higher risk for colorectal cancer than adults born in 1950, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). In recent years, rates of colon and rectal cancer have doubled and quadrupled, respectively.

“Those numbers are alarming, but there is a high chance colorectal cancer is curable if it is found early,” said Monte Martin, MD, hematology and medical oncology medical director at CHI Saint Joseph HealthCancer Care Center at Flaget Memorial Hospital. “It can also be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”

3 Steps to Help Prevent Colorectal Cancer

  1. Quit smoking. The ACS reports that smoking increases your risk of colorectal cancer, as well as numerous other health concerns. Quitting smoking will improve your overall health and decrease your cancer risk.
  2. Watch your weight. Obesity has been linked to colorectal cancer risk, especially in younger adults. Increasing your physical activity and eating a healthy diet may help reduce your risk.
  3. Talk to the doc. Annual screenings can help your provider catch colorectal cancer in its earlier, more treatable stages. Discuss other risk factors, such as your family history, with your provider. Together, you can decide when you should begin screening for colorectal cancer.

To learn more about our colorectal cancer services, speak with your primary care physician or request an appointment by calling 859.313.2255.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.