Colon cancer is serious. It’s the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths for men and women in their respective categories. If you combine men and women, it jumps to the second leading cause. While some risk factors are out of your control, such as age or race, there are lifestyle factors that may impact your risk and are within your control.
45 is the New 50 – Get Screened!
The new recommended age for those at average risk to begin screening for colon cancer is 45. Why? The western sedentary lifestyle and diet have increased the risk of developing colon cancer at a younger age. If you have a family history of colon cancer, your doctor will likely recommend a screening at an even younger age. Know your family history – it could save your life!
A typical Western diet may put you at higher risk of developing colon cancer, among other health issues. The Western diet is characterized by low fiber, high fat and high calorie, high salt processed foods. You may be able to lower your risk of developing colon cancer by including more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet. These foods provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and ample amounts of fiber – all the “good for you” qualities in food!
Physical Activity Levels
More and more people live increasingly sedentary lifestyles putting you at a higher risk of developing colon cancer. Reduce your risk by being physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. You don’t have to get all of your activity in at once. Try getting up and moving for 5-10 minutes at a time repeatedly throughout the day. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about increasing your physical activity.
Obesity doesn’t just increase your risk of developing colon cancer–it also increases your risk of dying from it in comparison to those with a normal weight. Talk to your doctor about weight loss goals so they can help you develop a healthy, realistic plan to meet them. Some insurances will even help patients attain weight management services. Remember, significant weight loss takes time, patience and persistence.
While the exact cause of colon cancer remains unknown, we do know that certain lifestyle factors increase your risk of developing it. Give yourself a fighting chance to live a long, healthy life. Take care of your body and get screened today. The specialists at Granite Peaks Gastroenterology are in your corner.