“March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: Learn about Prevention, Detection, and Treatment” Dr. Harshvardhan Atreya, (Cancer Specialist) Medanta Hospital, Lucknow

New Delhi (India), March 3: Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will develop colorectal cancer at some point in their lifetime. However, with increased awareness, screening, and early detection, colorectal cancer is a preventable and treatable disease. In this blog, we will discuss colorectal cancer awareness and how you can protect yourself from this deadly disease.

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer or colon cancer, is cancer that begins in the colon or rectum. The colon and rectum are parts of the large intestine, which is responsible for absorbing water and nutrients from food and eliminating waste from the body. Colorectal cancer usually develops slowly over several years, starting as a small growth called a polyp. Over time, the polyp can become cancerous and spread to other parts of the body if not detected and treated early.

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer may not show any symptoms in the early stages, which is why regular screening is essential for early detection. However, some common symptoms of colorectal cancer include:

                •             Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding

                •             Abdominal pain or cramping

                •             Change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation

                •             Unexplained weight loss

                •             Fatigue or weakness

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor immediately.

Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer

Certain risk factors can increase your likelihood of developing colorectal cancer. Some of these risk factors include:

 •  Age: The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases as you get older.

 •  Family history: A family history of colorectal cancer or polyps can increase your risk.

•  Personal history: If you have had colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps, you are at a higher risk of developing it again.

•  Inflammatory bowel disease: If you have a history of inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you are at an increased risk.

•  Lifestyle factors: Poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption can all increase your risk of colorectal cancer.

Prevention and Screening

While some risk factors cannot be controlled, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. These include:

 •  Maintain a healthy diet: Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in red and processed meats can help reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.

   • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.

   •  Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption: Both smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of colorectal cancer.

  • Get screened: Regular screening for colorectal cancer can detect the disease early, when it is most treatable. The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45. People at higher risk may need to start screening earlier or get screened more often.


Colorectal cancer is a serious disease, but it is also preventable and treatable with early detection. By raising awareness of the disease, understanding the risk factors, and taking steps to reduce your risk, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from this deadly disease. Talk to your doctor about your risk of colorectal cancer and the screening options available to you.
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