Time to get moving: It's Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Photograph of man and woman taken from behind - holding hands.
Monday, March 2, 2015

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and the South West Regional Cancer Program is challenging Ontarians to make the first move and reduce their risk of developing the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the province.

In Ontario, colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men and third most common cause of cancer deaths in women. To help Ontarians understand their risk, CCO recently launched a new online tool called MyCancerIQ. The website provides Ontarians with a personalized risk assessment and detailed action plan with tips and resources based on the individual’s risk factors.

The following recommendations can help you make the first move and reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer:

Exercise regularly

Walking briskly for 30 minutes each day is enough to significantly reduce your risk. As your fitness improves, aim for 60 minutes or more of moderate or 30 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity each day. If possible, avoid sedentary activities such as watching television.

Eat a healthy diet

You can adopt a healthy diet by incorporating at least five servings (at least 400 grams or 14 ounces) of assorted non-starchy vegetables and fruit into your diet each day. Limit your consumption of red and processed meat and avoid excess salt whenever possible.

Maintain a healthy weight

Excess body weight increases your risk of developing colorectal cancer. To avoid significant weight gain, consume high calorie foods sparingly, avoid sugary drinks and limit the amount of fast food in your diet.

Get screened appropriately

Screening plays an integral role in early detection of colorectal cancer. In Ontario, the ColonCancerCheck program recommends men and women between the ages of 50 and 74 with no symptoms and without a family history of colorectal cancer get screened every two years using the fecal occult blood test (FOBT). They are considered to be at average risk for developing colorectal cancer. The FOBT is a simple test done at home that detects invisible amounts of blood in the stool, which could be caused by colorectal cancer.

People who have a first-degree relative (i.e., parent, sibling or child) with a history of colorectal cancer are at increased risk for the disease. For these people, colonoscopy is recommended beginning at age 50, or 10 years earlier than the age at which their relative was diagnosed, whichever occurs first.

Watch as Kathy shares her personal experience with Colon Cancer and why it’s important to screen:


Click here to learn more about Colon Cancer Screening or go to mycanceriq.ca to discover your personal cancer risk.