Colon cancer is not a common topic of conversation, but it is a fairly common type of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death for men and women in the United States. The good news is, when detected early, colon cancer has a 90% survival rate. Annual screenings are crucial to early detection and the ACS recommends that adults aged 50 and older should have a colonoscopy every ten years.
So what can you do to reduce your risk of colon cancer? Plenty. While you cannot control your age, race or family history, there are a number of lifestyle-related steps you can take to help prevent the disease.
- Eat five or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits daily. Avoid a diet that is high in red meats, such as beef or lamb, and processed meats, including hot dogs. Opt for whole grains instead of refined grains, and limit alcohol to no more than one drink per day for women and two per day for men.
- Exercise. The ACS recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity for adults on five or more days of the week.
- Manage your weight. While being overweight or obese increases the risk for colon cancer in both men and women, this risk tends to be stronger in men.
- Don’t smoke. Some of the substances from smoking that can cause cancer are swallowed and can increase the risk of the disease developing in the digestive system, which includes the colon.
Just because you have a risk factor for colon cancer does not mean you will develop the disease. People who do not have any identifiable risk factors for colon cancer should begin regular colorectal screening at age 50. Those with risk factors for the disease should talk to their doctor about being screened at a younger age and/or being screened more frequently.
Colon cancer often does not cause any symptoms. But it can be detected at an early stage through screening when it is most curable. Take our quick risk assessment by visiting DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/coloncancerrisks or call 866-764-3627 free* EZ DETECT™ colon cancer kit. The easy-to-use kits are mess-free and fast. Simply drop a flushable test strip in the toilet and wait for the color to change. The color change should tell you whether or not blood is present in the stool, which is an indication of colon cancer as well as other conditions.
* $7.99 retail value. Limit two kits per household, please. Offer good while supplies last.
Photo credit: iStock/Thinkstock
Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218