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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness

March has been set aside as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month for the last 17 years.

First declared by then-President Bill Clinton in 2000, Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month has become a rallying point to spread awareness about the importance of early detection and prevention, as well as to celebrate survivors and patients in treatment.

According ot the American Cancer Society, 3,080 Tennesseans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2017, and 1,220 will die from the disease. Colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in the state, and the second leading cause of cancer death.

While there is no sure way to prevent colorectal cancer, there are things you can do that might help lower your risk of being diagnosed, including getting screened for it and reducing the risk factors you can control, including the food you eat, how much you weigh, your level of physical activity, whether you smoke and how much alcohol you drink.

Screening tests for colorectal cancer include flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, double-contrast barium enema, CT colonography, Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test, fecal immunochemical test and stool DNA test.

To learn more about Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, as well as the risk factors and screening tests for colorectal cancer, visit the Colon Cancer Alliance at www.ccalliance.org.