Eastside urges colorectal cancer awareness

SNELLVILLE -- As colorectal cancer awareness month nears its end, Eastside Medical Center urged the importance of prevention and screening for the disease, particularly for older residents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age. More than 90 percent of diagnoses occur in people 50 years and older.

The disease is the third-most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.

"Colorectal cancer often starts as a small polyp, long before symptoms appear," said Dr. Andrew Kramer, Eastside's chief of surgery. "Age is the single most important risk factor for the disease. The key is taking healthy steps to prevent colorectal cancer, as well as scheduling regular screenings to potentially catch the disease in the earliest stages when it is most treatable."

Eastside offered to following tips to help residents lower their risk:

-- Get screened. Begin regular colorectal cancer screenings at 50, and talk to your doctor about earlier screenings if you have a family history.

-- Eat healthy. Enjoy a low-fat diet with plenty of vegetables rich in fiber and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids.

-- Exercise for at least 30 minutes at least five days a week.

-- Kick the habit. If you use tobacco, quit.

-- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

For more information or a free physician referral to discuss your risk for colorectal cancer, call MedLine at 800-242-5662.