Know Your Risk
Being healthier is something that most of us are striving for, especially as we age. We try to stay fit and eat healthier to avoid illness and feel better. That type of mentality just might help reduce your risks of colon cancer. Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer among both men and women in the United States and 90% of cases are diagnosed in those over 50 years old. The good news is that most of the things that put us at risk for colon cancer are modifiable parts of our daily lives.
What Are My Risks?
It is important to know your personal risks for colon cancer so you know which areas to work on. Those who eat a high fat and low fiber diet, processed foods and lots of red meat are more likely to develop colon cancer. Adjusting your diet to include more fresh foods, fruits, vegetables and leaner meats like chicken and fish will decrease your risks. Sedentary lifestyles and a lack of exercise will increase your colon cancer risks. Exercising a few times a week is great for your body but can still leave your life pretty sedentary. Take the stairs, walk when you can, and do what you can to make more of your daily life active. A poor diet and lack of exercise often lead to you being overweight or obese which is another risk factor. Luckily, by changing your eating and exercise habits you will probably drop some weight.
What Should I Do?
Looking closer at your modifiable risk factors and making adjustments is vital, but you should know if you have other non-modifiable risk factors as well. Age and race are big risk factors for colon cancer and there’s nothing you can do about them. A personal or family history of colon cancer increases your risks. Genetic mutations such as Lynch syndrome greatly increase your risk. Some bowel diseases including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis will raise your risks due to the constant inflammation of the lining of the colon. If you have some of these non-modifiable risk factors you may need to start colon screenings sooner than the average adult. Talk with your doctor at Vanguard Gastroenterology about your personal risk factors and determine when screenings are appropriate for you.
Vanguard Gastroenterology has many convenient locations and board certified gastroenterologists to help you. If you are 50 or older and have never had a colon health screening schedule an appointment today.