According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States. In fact, about 1 in 23 men and 1 in 35 women will develop colon or rectal cancer some point during their lifetime.
While there may not be a magic bullet to prevent colon cancer, there are things you can do to lower your risk that are within your control. Today, we’ll discuss five prevention methods that will bring you a step closer to a healthy colon for life.
(Free download: 5 Abnormalities Doctors Look for During a Colonoscopy)
1. Get moving.
If you aren’t physically active, you may be at risk for developing polyps. While being overweight or obese heightens this risk, the American Cancer Society found that having more belly fat has also been linked to colorectal cancer. You can lower your risk by managing factors like your diet and physical activity.
Regularly engaging in physical activity can help control weight gain around the midsection. While light to moderate activity (like a walk around the park) lowers the risk, moderate to vigorous activity may have an even greater impact. Just be sure to build up intensity slowly to prevent injury or muscle strain.
2. Eat your veggies.
Adopting a diet full of veggies, fruits and whole grains is another way to prevent colon cancer. CUP findings reaffirmed earlier evidence that eating too much red meat can increase the risk of colorectal cancer while consuming processed meat like sausage and deli slices increases the risk twice. Try limiting red meat consumption to 18 ounces per week. Or instead, opting for protein sources such as roasted chicken or fish.
As a rule of thumb, try moving to the AICR New American Plate formula for eating: filling your plate two-thirds with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and nuts and no more than one-third with animal protein.
3. Kick old habits.
Studies also suggest that you prevent colon cancer by limiting alcohol consumption, avoiding tobacco and quitting smoking. The American Cancer Society recommends no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. A single drink amounts to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
Smokers are also at high risk of developing colorectal cancer. If you smoke and want to quit, or know someone else who does, check out these tips. Having resources and support will greatly improve your chances of quitting successfully.
4. Supplement your diet with vitamins.
Low levels of calcium have also been linked to a higher risk of developing colon cancer. While calcium has numerous health benefits, it isn’t recommended to increase calcium intake alone (due to the possible increased risk in men with high calcium intake).
Instead, calcium and vitamin D work best together in preventing colorectal cancer. Vitamin D aids the body’s absorption of calcium. Some other vitamins that help lower your chance of developing colon cancer include folic acid and magnesium. Talk to your physician about whether supplementation with vitamins is right for you.
5. Start screening early.
Screening is one of the most powerful prevention methods for colon cancer. Screenings like a virtual colonoscopy can detect polyps on the colon or rectum that can be removed before they turn cancerous. Because colon screenings are able to identify abnormalities in their earliest stages, treatment is more likely to be successful.
If you’re 45 years or older, you should start getting screened for colon cancer on a routine basis. A virtual colonoscopy is one of the most effective ways to do so. It’s non-invasive and takes as little as 15 minutes.
Almost all colon cancers begin as precancerous polyps. These polyps can be present in the colon or rectum for years before they become cancerous. They may not cause symptoms early on, but a virtual colonoscopy can detect cancer early on when there’s a greater chance that treatment will be most effective.
To learn more about colon screenings and the benefits of a virtual colonoscopy, we invite you to reach out to our team today at (918) 879-6161. We’re here to answer any questions you have and help you take back control of your health.
Making Sense of Virtual Colonoscopy
Wondering what doctors are looking for? In this free guide, we shed light on the five abnormalities doctors are looking for during a virtual colonoscopy. Click below to download your copy now.