March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and Regional Cancer Care Northwest is challenging Ontarians to make the first move and reduce their risk of developing the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the province.
This call to action coincides with the release of a new report from Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), which shows that a substantial number of colorectal cancers in the province result from lack of exercise, poor diet and being overweight or obese. In 2013, only 53 per cent of Ontario adults aged 18 and older said they were at least moderately active during their leisure time. The report also shows that these figures haven’t changed significantly since 2003.
“This new report highlights that making unhealthy lifestyle choices can significantly increase a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer in particular,” says Cathy Paroschy-Harris, Director of Prevention and Screening Services. “By exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and getting screened appropriately, you can reduce your risk and make the first move against the disease. Over time, these small changes can have a dramatic impact.”
The CCO report, Cancer Risk Factors in Ontario: Healthy Weights, Healthy Eating and Active Living, also shows that Ontarians aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables to reduce their risk of cancer, with only 35 per cent of people aged 18 and older reporting they consumed five or more servings per day in 2013. Furthermore, 25 per cent of male and 14 per cent of female Canadian adults consumed more red and processed meat than the cancer prevention recommendation of less than 500 grams per week. A single serving size is approximately 75 grams and is roughly equivalent to a deck of cards. In addition, the number of overweight or obese Ontarians continues to rise. In 2013, 37 per cent of Ontarians were overweight and 25 per cent were obese. The report is the fourth in a series produced by CCO that examines different cancer risk factors.
“Not getting enough physical activity, eating red or processed meats in excess of 500 grams per week and carrying extra body weight are all factors that can increase your colorectal cancer risk,” says Dr. Catherine Dubé, Clinical Lead, ColonCancerCheck at CCO. “By embracing healthy habits, Ontarians can take prevention into their own hands and help reduce the burden of colorectal cancer across 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:
Learn more at www.cancercare.on.ca/colon and discover your personal cancer risk at mycanceriq.ca. For more information about screening, please visit /www.cancercare.on.ca/pcs/screening/.