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Colon Cancer

 What is colon cancer?

Colon cancer is caused by nonstop and unnecessary cell growth in the colon (also known as the large intestine). This growth can result in cancerous tumors. Early detection is key to survival, and several methods can be used for testing.

  • A colonoscopy is a testing procedure in which a doctor examines the colon with a camera, checking for polyps and cancer cells.
  • A blood stool test (such as FOBT or FIT) is an at-home test that checks for hidden blood in stool. Blood in the stool can be an early sign of colon cancer.

Guy in blueHow common is colon cancer?

The American Cancer Society estimated that more than 71,000 men would be diagnosed with new cases of colon cancer in 2017 in the U.S. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for American men, and more than 27,150 men with colon cancer were not expected to survive in 2017.

Should I get a colonoscopy?

Risk FactorYesNo
I have irritable bowel disease.
I have a family history of colon or prostate cancer.
Sometimes I notice blood in my stool.
I often experience stomach pain/discomfort.
My bowel movements have changed and now I often am constipated
My stool is suddenly loose and watery.
I am 50 years old (or older).

* Even one “Yes” indicates you could be at risk for colon cancer. Check with your health-care provider about your screening options.

How can I lower my risk?

  • Reduce your intake of foods that are high in saturated fats such as processed meats (hotdogs, beef jerky, ham) and high-fat dairy (butter, whole milk).
  • Eat foods that are high in fiber such as beans and other legumes, vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Recipes

These recipes were selected because many of their ingredients are associated with reducing the risk for cancer.

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Split Pea Soup

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Hearty Spicy Bean Chili

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Southwest Bean Dip

Find out more

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Michelle Steppan, Dietetic Intern

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