Lowering your risk for colon cancer
Colorectal cancer affects both men and women equally – 140,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year. But colorectal cancer is preventable, and can be successfully treated and is often curable when detected early.
To lower your risk of colorectal cancer, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons recommends that you:
• Get regular colorectal cancer screenings after age 50. A screening colonoscopy can not only prevent colon cancer but in some cases can even cure an early cancer. Between 80-90% of colorectal cancer patients are restored to normal health if their cancer is detected and treated in the earliest stages.
• Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet.
• If you use alcohol, drink only in moderation. If you use tobacco, quit. Alcohol and tobacco in combination are linked to colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers.
• Exercise for at least 20 minutes three to four days each week. Moderate exercise such as walking, gardening or climbing steps may help.
Colorectal cancer is extremely preventable if polyps that lead to the cancer are detected and removed, and it is very curable if the cancer is detected in its early stages. Since there are very few symptoms associated with colorectal cancer, regular screening is essential.
Screening can be performed by a stool test, Barium enema X-Ray or a colonoscopy. Talk to your colorectal surgeon or other healthcare provider about colorectal cancer and what kind of screening test is right for you.