Staying healthy and free from cancer is a goal for everyone. Grocery stores are carrying more organic foods, and it seems like there are more fitness centers than ever before. Is there a magical formula to staying well? What foods, supplements or exercise regimes will keep cancer away?
Colon cancer is a concern for many Americans because it is the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States among men and women. Although the numbers of new cases of colon cancer are decreasing among adults aged 60 and older, the rate of colon cancer is increasing in younger adults. Colon cancer can affect anyone. It can be linked to family history or it can occur independently of genetics.
Although there is nothing you can do to assure that you will not develop colon cancer, there are some habits and ways of life that can help decrease your risk of getting the disease:
- Eat a low-fat, high fiber diet—A high-fat diet that is poor in fiber is a risk factor for colon cancer, so do the opposite! Eat foods that are low in fat and high in fiber, and you will be keeping cancer away.
- Exercise regularly—Getting at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise several times a week will keep your cardiovascular system strong. Exercise will also help prevent obesity, which is another risk factor for colon cancer.
- Limit alcohol and say “no” to smoking—Drinking and smoking are linked to free radical damage and can initiate the development of abnormal tissues. Keep alcohol for special occasions and never smoke.
- Get a colonoscopy—All adults at average risk for colon cancer should get a colonoscopy at the age of 50. If you have specific risk factors, you should be screened every 10 years beginning at age 50. Although there are other screening methods available, a colonoscopy is the most effective test to detect pre-cancerous polyps.
Talk to your doctor to see when you should schedule your colonoscopy and ask about more ways to prevent colon cancer.