Dr. Juan Sanabria: Chicago, Illinois.

Author:Rivas, Laura

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. ACS estimates there will be approximately 135,000 new cases of colorectal cancer in 2016. One in 20 Hispanic males and one in 24 Hispanic women are predicted to develop colorectal cancer. While the statistics are alarming, there is good news: healthy lifestyle habits can make a difference.

Dr. Juan Sanabria, a surgical oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America[R] (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern), attributes the development of colorectal cancer to both heredity and lifestyle.

"While the impact of genetics on colorectal cancer cannot be denied, it is important to recognize the role of the environment, as well as diet, exercise and behavior, all of which can effect cancer prevention, severity and prognosis," said Dr. Sanabria.

He encourages us to be aware of the frequency and types of cancer within our families and to consult with a doctor to determine other factors. In terms of prevention, Dr. Sanabria cites an association between the diet in western countries and an increase in certain cancers, including colorectal.

"It is intuitive that the increase in breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, and colorectal cancer has to do with the behavior in western countries including diet and exercise."

His recommendation is to sustain healthy eating habits and regular exercise and to get regular check-ups that include age and family-history-appropriate cancer screenings. A nutritionally well-balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fiber-rich foods can significantly enhance cancer prevention.

"We should decrease the intake of red meat, sodium and trans fats--that means fries, pizza, foods like that," Dr. Sanabria says. "You don't have to stop eating them; just exercise moderation in the...

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