Chipping Away at Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer risks increase with obesity

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month and you may not be aware that being overweight or obese can increase your chances of having this disease, which you should also know is the second leading cause of cancer death.

The higher the BMI (body mass index), the higher the risk of colorectal cancer. The clinical evidence about this linkage is now clear and in some cases, avoidable.

"For your health and wellness, learn how to take off the weight."

The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) and the Campaign to End Obesity (CEO) are partnering to increase awareness about the association between obesity and colorectal cancer, and to emphasize the importance of screening, particularly for folks with a high BMI.

"Dietary and other modifiable risk factors may account for as many as 90 percent of colorectal cancers, and recent studies suggest that about one-quarter of colorectal cancer cases could be avoided by following a healthy lifestyle,”  ACG President Lawrence R. Schiller, M.D., F.A.C.G., said.

Stephanie Silverman, co-founder of the Campaign to End Obesity, added, "With two thirds of adults struggling with being overweight or obese, it is essential people understand their long-term health."

Education and screening are of the utmost importance in overcoming these challenges, the groups say.

Obesity is a component of a collection of health conditions known as metabolic syndrome, which increases a person's risk of type 2 diabetes and dying from colorectal cancer. Researchers now believe that insulin issues resulting from obesity may play a role in colorectal cancer development.

“Consumers need to understand the link between a higher Body Mass Index and colorectal cancer, take this risk factor seriously, and talk to their doctor about colorectal cancer tests,” Dr. Schiller says. 

Colorectal cancer screening recommendations 

The American College of Gastroenterology recommend the following screening guidelines:

  • Men and women with no family or personal history of colorectal cancer should begin screening at age 50.
  • African-Americans should start screening at age 45.
  • As a colorectal cancer prevention test, colonoscopy every 10 years is the preferred method.

The two groups have produced a great deal of information about colorectal cancer prevention, detection and treatment. See the links below to learn more.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 16, 2012
Last Updated:
March 17, 2012