March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Giant inflatable colon set up to bring awareness to the colorectal cancer
Posted at 7:07 AM, Mar 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-08 11:26:39-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

It's the 2nd deadliest and 3rd most common cancer worldwide, so FOX 17's Women's Health Expert, Dr. Diana Bitner is urging everyone to get checked and do what we can lower our risks!

Risk factors
While alcohol and tobacco consumption and HPV infection are factors, the most common element in developing colorectal cancer is being obese. The World Health Organization says obesity was responsible for about 23% of colorectal cancer diagnoses in 2012— not to mention the 7 other cancer types obesity opens you up to.

Researchers are screaming from the rooftops— healthy diets and habits can significantly decrease your risk for this deadly disease. Fish, nuts, fruit, and veggies are your friends in this fight to reclaim your health, or avoid obesity in the first place. Weave some kind of physical activity into your day to build muscle, lose fat, and increase dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins— your happiness hormones!

And couldn't we all use a boost of happiness at least once per day? Especially if it decreases your risk of cancer??

If you're missing those crave-able sweets, there are plenty of substitute recipes for your favorites— including this one Dr. Bitner gave us!

Black Bean Brownies


• 1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well)
• 2 tbsp cocoa powder
• 1/2 cup quick oats
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1/2—2/3 cup chocolate chips (Not optional - Omit at your own risk) optional: more chips, for presentation


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. (A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture—and even the taste—will be much better in a food processor.)
  • Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top.
  • Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut.
  • If they still look a bit undercooked, you can place them in the fridge overnight and they will magically firm up!

FOX 17 Women's Health Tip of the Week
Talk to your doctor about how to get checked and reduce your risks for colorectal cancer.