Colon cancer is among the most commonly diagnosed cancers in American adults. It is also among the most deadly, being the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths for both men and women. Fortunately, this doesn't have to be the case, because colon cancer is also one of the most preventable.
Despite over 100,000 new cases of colon cancer each year, there are simple measures that can be taken to keep you from joining these numbers. With timely screenings and lifestyle changes, the odds that you will be impacted personally by colon cancer can be reduced drastically. Here are seven steps anyone can take to help beat the odds:
- Don't Skip the Colonoscopy - The latest guidelines indicate that a person of average risk should undergo their first colonoscopy at age 45. However, this may be sooner if you have certain risk factors such as a family history. To be certain of when your screenings should begin, check with your doctor.
- Include these Colon Healthy Foods in Your Diet - All healthy diets, including those best for the colon, should include fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, along with sources of protein such as lean meats, nuts and legumes.
- Avoid these Unhealthy Foods - On the other hand, foods that may be harsh for the colon and body in general include red meats and foods that are processed or high in saturated fats.
- Know Your Healthy Weight Range & Maintain it - Your ideal body weight can be calculated based on the body mass index (BMI) chart. Use this chart to determine a healthy weight range for you based on your height.
- Don't Skimp on Exercise - Regular exercise and physical activity is not only good for the heart, it can have positive impacts on the colon as well. Additionally, when added to a healthy diet, it can also help you maintain your ideal weight.
- Don't Overindulge in Alcohol - Another general rule for overall good health is to limit alcohol consumption. In general, physicians recommend no more than one glass per day for female patients and two per day for men.
- Put Out Your Cigarette for Good - Smoking shares links with many forms of cancer, including colon cancer. Fortunately, smokers who have quit can experience a reduction in many of these risks over time. It is never too late to quit!
Not only are these seven steps good for preventing colon cancer, they are good advice for maintaining general, overall health. If you would like to learn more about your risk for colon cancer and how to minimize it, contact Lane Gastroenterology and request an appointment with gastroenterologist, Dr. Krunal Patel, today!