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This Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Cancer Care Ontario is urging Ontarians to help change the future of colorectal cancer by embracing healthy habits and taking prevention into their own hands.

Why is knowing about colorectal cancer important?

In Ontario, it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in women. The good news is screening for colorectal cancer is extremely effective. In fact, if detected early, 90 per cent of colorectal cancer cases can be successfully treated. But if the disease has progressed, the odds of survival are much lower. Regular screening is the key to catching colorectal cancer early.

Who is at risk?

People aged 50 to 74 years with no family history of colorectal cancer are considered to be at average risk for developing colorectal cancer. Those who have a first-degree relative (i.e., parent, sibling or child) with a history of colorectal cancer are at an increased risk.

How to make the first move on colorectal cancer

A new report from Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) titled Risk Factors in Ontario: Healthy Weights, Healthy Eating and Active Living shows that lack of exercise, poor diet and obesity are significant risk factors for many cancers, including colorectal cancer. Here are three ways to make the first move on colorectal cancer today:

  1. Determine your risk. Visit to determine your chances of developing four types of cancer, including colorectal, through a series of interactive online questionnaires. Once you complete the questionnaires, you receive a risk assessment report that outlines your cancer risk, and summarizes the factors raising and lowering your cancer risk. You also receive a personalized health action plan to help you immediately start reducing your cancer risk.
  2. Prevent it. Diet, exercise and excessive weight can impact your risk of developing colorectal cancer. In fact, in 2010, approximately 2,640 new cancer cases in Ontario are estimated as attributable to excess body weight (i.e., overweight and obesity). Try to incorporate at least five servings of assorted non-starchy vegetables and fruit into your daily diet and reduce your red meat intake to less than 500 grams per week. A single serving size is approximately 75 grams and is roughly equivalent to a deck of cards. And don’t forget to be active! Walking for 30 minutes each day can significantly reduce your cancer risk.
  1. Get screened! Although the percentage of those getting screened for colorectal cancer is on the rise, half (47%) of Ontarians aged 50 to 74 aren’t making use of free tools available to catch the disease in its early stages. Screening is easy – in fact, the FOBT – the most commonly used test – can be done in the comfort of your own home. Cancer screening sees what you can’t, for more information visit

To learn more about Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, visit and check out the conversation on Twitter, by sharing the hashtag, #MakeTheFirstMove, or on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Make the first move today and discover your personal cancer risk at