Colon cancer is a disease caused by abnormal growth in the colon or rectum. In America, it is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women. One in 23 or 4.3% of men and one in 25 or 4.0% of women are at risk of developing colon cancer. Factors such as diet and lifestyle can affect your chances of getting colon cancer over your lifetime. However, colon cancer prevention methods like regular screening and lifestyle changes can help lower the risk.
What Is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer starts developing in your colon or rectum as abnormal growths called precancerous polyps. Polyps are noncancerous and don’t show any symptoms. If polyps are left untreated in the colon, they can become invasive and grow cancerous.
Colon cancer usually occurs in people above the age of 50 and is more common among black people. Other risk factors of colon cancer include:
- Genetics and family history of colon cancer
- Medical history of colon cancer or ovarian cancer
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Cigarette smoking
Colon Cancer Prevention: Ways To Reduce Your Risk
Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some ways to help you lower your risk of colon cancer:
1. Get Screened Regularly
Screening involves tests like colonoscopy to check for cancer or precancerous polyps in your colon. It allows doctors to detect polyps in the noncancerous stage and remove them before they become cancerous. It also enables cancer detection in people who don’t have any symptoms. Regular screening is one of the best methods for colon cancer prevention.
If you’re over 45 years or have a family history of polyps or cancer, talk to your doctor and start regular screening for colon cancer.
2. Stay Physically Active
People who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of colon cancer. Even a sedentary lifestyle involving sitting or lying down for long hours can increase your chances of developing polyps and colon cancer. Stay physically active and include moderate to vigorous exercise in your daily routine to maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of colon cancer.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
High-fiber diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains keep your gut healthy and prevent colon cancer. Also, adequate intake of vitamin D, folic acid, and minerals like calcium and magnesium lowers your risk of colon cancer. By contrast, diets high in red meat and processed meats like sausages, salami, and corned beef have no fiber and can increase your chances of developing colon cancer.
4. Limit Alcohol
Evidence suggests that increased alcohol intake is associated with a higher colon cancer risk, especially among men. If you drink alcohol, then you must limit your consumption. Experts recommend one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. However, avoiding alcohol altogether lowers your risk of colon cancer still further.
5. Avoid Smoking
Smoking can increase your risk of health problems like lung and colon cancers. If you smoke, quitting can help lower your cancer risk.
Cancer Screening at NVSCC
Regular screening can help you detect and treat colon cancer before it worsens. However, choosing the right team of healthcare providers is essential for proper care. At NVSCC, we value the importance of colon cancer prevention. Through regular screening and expert guidance, we ensure your health and well-being. If you wish to start screening immediately, schedule an appointment today and keep colon cancer at bay.