Cancers of the colon or rectum are often referred to as colorectal cancer. Every year in the United States, nearly 150,000 people are diagnosed with this disease.1 There are some risk factors that you can’t change, such as your race, age, and family history, but there are some measures you can take to prevent or catch colorectal cancer early.
- Get screened
Regular screenings are key to prevention and/or early cancer detection. Most cancers begin as polyps (abnormal growths) and over time turn into cancer. These tests can identify these growths and removing them can prevent cancer from developing. Screenings can also catch cancers early when they are the easiest to treat. 45 years old is the recommended age to begin screenings unless you are at higher risk.
- Eat a well balanced diet
Eat an abundance of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These foods are full of fiber and contain cancer fighting properties. Aim for a minimum of 3-5 servings per day. Limit red meat and processed meats, which increases the risk of cancers.
- Exercise regularly
Being physically active reduces the risk of disease in general. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week. This will boost your mood and improve your overall health.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
Smoking increases the risk of cancers as well as other diseases. If you are a smoker, now is the time to stop. Alcohol consumption puts you at higher risk for colorectal cancers. If you drink, limit the amount or avoid alcohol altogether.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Being obese or overweight not only increases your risk for colorectal cancer, but also several other diseases. If you are overweight, consider implementing a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Implementing the healthy habits and regular screenings listed above, will not only greatly reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer but will also improve your overall health.
At North Central Surgical Center, our mission is to treat each and every one of our patients and their families as if they were our own family members. Each patient, each family, each and every time.