This March, make sure you talk a lot about your colon. Seem like a strange topic of conversation? It shouldn’t be. We’re celebrating national Colon Cancer Awareness Month this March at Associates in Digestive Health, and we invite you to join us. The American Cancer Society projects over 135,000 new cases of colorectal cancer in 2017, with over 50,000 cases ending in death. Even with so many people projected to be affected by the disease this year, there are certain precautions you can take to help reduce the chance of you or a loved one being in that number.
One of the first defenses against colon cancer is understanding it – how do you get it, how do you know if you have the disease, are you in a high risk group, and what can you do to reduce your risks? Your GI health is so important to monitor and manage, and colon cancer affects a large part of your gastrointestinal system. Although researchers have found many factors that increase someone’s risk of having colorectal cancer, an exact cause has not been determined. The risk factors for colon cancer fall into two groups – those that we can change and others that we cannot.
What Can I Do?
The factors we can change revolve around mostly diet and exercise. Maintaining a healthy diet high in fruit and veggies and low in red or processed meats is a good place to start, while also cutting out smoking and cutting down on drinking. You should get into a good, regular exercise routine and lose excess weight as well. Other factors aren’t within your control, but should be discussed with your doctor. The team at Associates in Digestive Health can help you understand if your race, age, medical or family history indicates a higher risk.
Most doctors recommend regular colonoscopy screening tests beginning at age 50. The test looks for polyps within the digestive tract, which may be indicative of cancer. A screening colonoscopy allows the ADH gastroenterologist to view the lining of the colon with a specially mounted camera. If a polyp is discovered it can be removed at the time of the screening and sent to the lab for pathology. Colon cancer is 90% curable if caught early - don’t put off this important test! You can request an appointment at Associates in Digestive Health today to discuss your digestive health, and let us use our knowledge and expertise to get you on track for a healthier lifestyle.