National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

This March, make your colon health a priority! Learn what you can do to prevent and raise awareness of colorectal cancer with UNM Truman Health Services.

Colorectal Cancer Facts

Colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States among men and women. Over 140,000 individuals are diagnosed every year. Like HIV, colorectal cancer does not discriminate but is highly preventable.

Risk Factors

Colorectal cancer predominantly affects men and women over the age of 50. The cause of colorectal cancer is still unknown, but doctors have determined that there are factors that increase your risk of developing it. These include:

  • Smoking; UNM Truman Health Services has smoking cessation programs to help you decrease your risk of colorectal cancer and improve your health while living with HIV
  • Alcohol; Excessive alcohol use can irritate the color, affecting digestion and increasing the risk of polyps.
  • Heredity; Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer are at a higher risk of developing the disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); Any digestive health complications, including ulcers and Crohn’s disease increase the risk of colorectal cancer
  • Poor Diet; A lack of fiber and fresh fruits and vegetables increases your risk
  • Lack of Exercise; Physical activity improves bowel performance significantly

Because HIV weakens the immune system, HIV+ individuals are at a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer. If you are over the age of 50 or have a family history of colorectal cancer, it is essential to get screened as soon as possible.

Preventative Tips

The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened. Depending on your risk factors, your doctor may recommend any of these three methods:

  • Colonoscopy
  • Stool test
  • Sigmoidoscopy

Screening can be performed a minimum of every ten years. You can also prevent colorectal cancer by quitting smoking, being physically active and eating a nutritious diet.

Take Charge of Your Colorectal Health!

UNM Truman Health Services proudly provides a full range of health services for people living with HIV throughout New Mexico. From quitting smoking to improving your diet, we can help you decrease your risk of colorectal cancer so you can live a healthy, long life. Contact us today to get screened!