Each year more than 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer. Factors like obesity, poor diet, and lack of exercise put you at risk, which means you can make positive changes to protect yourself. Early detection is an ace to have in your pocket. Roughly 90% of patients survive colon cancer, when it’s detected early. Find out what you can do right now to lower your colon cancer risk.
Regular colon cancer screenings
Colon cancer rarely causes symptoms in the initial stages. By the time you start experiencing issues like stomach pain and changes in bowel habits, the cancer has likely progressed. Because of this, scheduling a colon cancer screening is one of the best ways to reduce your risk.
These screenings look for cancer before symptoms start and help find abnormal cells before they have a chance to become cancer.
Most colon cancers start out as harmless clumps of cells called polyps. A cancer screening helps detect polyps, which your doctor may recommend removing if you have certain risk factors.
Eating a high fiber diet
If you’re like most Americans, you’re falling short of the 25-30 grams of fiber you need each day, which doesn’t bode well for your colon health. You get two types of fiber from your diet, soluble and insoluble. It’s the latter that is strongly linked to cutting colon cancer risk.
Insoluble fiber is like a broom that sweeps food particles through your colon, making sure food doesn’t sit too long and cause problems. It also softens and adds bulk to your stool, preventing constipation and hemorrhoids.
Whole grains like oats, barley, wheat, and quinoa are the richest sources of insoluble fiber. Did you know that for every 10 grams of fiber you eat each day, you reduce your risk of colon cancer by 10 percent?
Cutting back on processed and red meat
It’s no secret that America loves meat, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. But processed meat like hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and deli meats have a downside. Consuming these foods on a regular basis raises your chance of colon cancer.
Consider that eating a typical serving of processed meat each day boosts colon cancer risk by as much as 18 percent. Likewise, chowing down on too much red meat bumps up colon cancer risk also.
If you pride yourself on being a carnivore, it may be time to overhaul your diet, for the sake of your colon health.
It’s no mystery that being overweight has negative health consequences. It increases the risk for various diseases, including colon cancer. Research suggests that gorging on a high-calorie diet interferes with key tumor-suppressing hormones in your colon, paving the way for cancer to develop.
Consider cutting your calorie intake and shedding some pounds if you’re tipping the scales. Losing just 10 percent of your body weight lowers your disease risk. For an adult weighing 180 pounds, that’s just 18 pounds.
Engaging in plenty of physical activity
Getting enough physical activity is necessary for staying healthy. Exercise helps control weight, strengthen bones, boost emotional well-being, and it also lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Along with following a nutritious diet, exercise not only curbs colon cancer risk, it boosts your survival rate if you have colon cancer and lowers the chance that the cancer will come back.
When it comes to colon cancer, there’s a lot you can do to lower your risk. Drop by to see Dr. Bharat Pothuri for comprehensive digestive care. Call our office to request an appointment or use our online booking tool.