Counseling Patients on Risk Factors, Reduction Strategies for Colorectal Cancer

Amber Draper, PharmD, BCOP, clinical pharmacist at Winship Cancer Institute, explains how pharmacists can counsel patients about risk factors for colorectal cancer and reduction strategies. 


We know that colorectal cancer is closely linked to lifestyle factors and dietary factors. So we also know that countries that have a more Westernized diet, so high in red meat, low in fiber, fruits, and antioxidants, that the colorectal cancer incidence rates are increasing. And so, educating our patients on having a healthier diet, increasing fiber, decreasing red meat, also lowering alcohol intake, because you know, this year ASCO actually released a statement kind of acknowledging the risk that alcohol plays in causing cancer. And they really recommend reducing the intake of alcohol as much as possible. It doesn’t really matter the type of alcohol you drink, it’s more the quantity. And then we also know that as obesity rates are increasing and sedentary lifestyles, that those are also causing an increase in colorectal cancer. So encouraging our patients to be more active, to have a healthier diet, not to smoke, to reduce alcohol intake, those are all things that we can do to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

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