Understanding Colorectal Cancer

The Facts on Colorectal Cancer

Risk Factors & Strategies to Reduce Your Risk

The following factors have been shown to increase your risk for Colorectal Cancer

Modifiable Factors: The following actions are controllable, and therefore should be avoided as consistently as possible. It is important to focus on these lifestyle choices in order to help offset the risk factors that are uncontrollable! 

Non-Modifiable Factors: The following cannot be changed. However, these factors are important to know, so you can be cognizant of your lifestyle choices and understand the circumstances!

Help reduce your risk for Colorectal Cancer with these choices

Are You at Risk for Colorectal Cancer?

Symptoms & Early Detection


  • Persistent changes in bowel movement. It can be consistent diarrhea or constipation.
  • Rectal bleeding, abnormally, or blood in your stool.
  • Abnormal cramps, gas, bloating, or stomach pain that persists.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Constant feeling that you haven’t fully emptied your bowels.
Note: these are also common symptoms of other bowel issues, so consult your physician if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and have concerns. 

Early Detection

5 Year Survival Rates

5 Year Survival Rates

Forms of Screenings

  • Stool Test (Every 3 years): doctors will analyze your stool for any products that might indicate cancer in your gut. Often, this can be done at your home
  • Colonoscopy (Every 10 years): a camera that captures your colon to check for cancerous lesions and polyps that need to be addressed.
  • CT Colonography (Every 5 years): take an image to see if there are any concerning abnormalities that need to be removed via a scope.
You should start to consider screening for colorectal cancer around 40. Screenings are recommended at one of the above rates depending on the test of your choosing.

Who Should be Screened?

  • 45-75 Years Old: Regular screenings.
  • 76-84 Years Old: Discuss with your doctor the next steps on whether screenings should be continued.
  • 85+ Years Old: Screenings are no long recommended beyond 85!
If you are experiencing any persistent issues with your bowels, it is important that you first contact your physician to address your concerns.

Which Screening is Best for you?

Treatments for Colorectal Cancer

  • Colectomy: Removal of the cancerous portion of the colon.
  • Chemotherapy: Drugs designed to eliminate cancer cells
  • Radiation Therapy: Beams of high-energy to kill cancer cells
  • Targeted Therapy: Medicines such as Avastin, Cyramza, and Zaltrap.
  • Immunotherapy: Alter immune function to attack cancer cells.

Nutrition and Cancer

Diet plays a major role in the development of cancer. The foods you eat can either promote cellular damage and increase your risk or protect your cells from damage and reduce your risk. An estimated 30% of cancers are believed to be related to poor dietary habits. (15)

We have compiled a list of foods that should be regularly included in your diet to promote optimal health, including cancer prevention. Learn what you can do to help reduce your risk.

Your Guide to Optimal Nutrition