With spring right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to continue focusing on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. March marks the beginning of Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and one way to stay healthy this season is by scheduling preventative screenings.
According to the American Cancer Society, “Colorectal Cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon or rectum.” Most colorectal cancer starts as a growth on the lining of the colon or rectum. There are various types of polyps that can develop and change over the course of time, but not all polyps turn into cancer. Scheduling a preventative screening withyour provider can ensure early detection and diagnosis.
Although colon cancer is one of most commonly diagnosed cancers in the U.S., there are still many ways you can protect your health. Here are six tips for preventing colon cancer, from the American Cancer Society.
- Get preventative screenings. Your IHC provider should be able to administer screenings that look for cancer even before symptoms begin to develop. If cancer is detected early enough, treatments are more likely to have successful results. Ideally, you should begin scheduling regular screenings starting at age 50.
- Eat plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Diets that incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have been linked to a decreased risk of developing colon cancer. You should also focus on eating less red meat and processed meats, like hot dogs.
- Exercise frequently. Increasing your amount of physical activity has many benefits, but can also help decrease your risk of developing colon cancer.
- Watch your weight. Being overweight or obese can raise your risk of developing colon cancer. Focus on maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise, but talk to your doctor before making any serious changes.
- Don’t smoke. People who smoke are more likely to develop and die from colorectal cancer. Talk to your doctor for advice on how to quit successfully.
- Limit alcohol. Colon cancer has been linked to heavy drinking. The American Cancer Society recommends no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women. A single drink amounts to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (hard liquor).
Taking the time to make healthy lifestyle habit changes can lower your risk for developing colon cancer, as well as many other forms of cancer. Talk to your doctor about different ways you can reduce your likelihood and stay healthy.
*This information was provided by the American Cancer Society