Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer death. However, the good news is that 75 percent of all colon cancer cancers can be prevented with healthy lifestyle choices. Use these eight tips as a guide to lower your risk for developing colon cancer and increase your chances of living a full life ahead.
8. Don't Smoke - And if You Do Smoke, Quit
Smoking tobacco transports carcinogens to the colons, where it can increase polyp size. In fact, studies show smokers are 18 percent more likely than nonsmokers to develop colorectal cancer, and 25 percent more likely to die from the disease.
7. Exercise Daily
Daily exercise is thought to reduce colon-cancer risk by as much as one-fourth. The American Cancer Society recommends getting 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity, five days a week, and 45 to 60 minutes, five days a week, for even more health benefits.
6. Slim Your Waistline
Except for smoking, nothing raises your risk for colon cancer more than being overweight – especially having too much belly fat around the waistline. Combine daily exercise with a balanced diet to maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of being diagnosed and dying from the disease.
5. Limit Red & Processed Meat
Diets high in red meat – especially processed meats, like bacon, sausage and hot dogs – are linked to increased risk of colon cancer. Try to limit yourself to two 4-ounce portions or less of red meat each week, but make sure to choose lean cuts, trim the fat and serve with plenty of fruits and veggies.
4. Get Enough Calcium & Vitamin D
Getting between 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium and 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day may help to protect you from colon cancer – but don’t overdo it. Speak with your doctor about the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D for your age and gender.
3. Moderate Alcohol
Alcohol is a known cause of several forms of cancer, including colon and rectum cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends limiting alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
2. Know Your Family History
People with a first-degree relative who has had colorectal cancer have two to three times the risk of developing the disease compared to those without a family history. People with a family history of colon cancer should speak with their doctor at a young age about early screening and genetic testing.
1. Get Screened
Starting at age 50, getting regular screening tests for colon cancer is the single best way to protect yourself from the disease. Colon cancer screenings help to detect the disease in its earliest, most treatable stages, as well as prevent the disease by finding polyps before they turn into cancer.
Schedule your colonoscopy today!
Colon cancer screenings save lives! For more information or to schedule your colonoscopy call UnityPoint Health – Trinity at (309) 779-3225 today.