This month, we want to draw awareness to colon cancer. Simply keeping people informed about the risks and preventative measures associated with colon cancer can save lives. More than half of deaths caused by colon cancer could be prevented if all people over the age of 50 received regular screenings.
What is Colon Cancer?
As the third most common cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer-caused deaths, colon cancer should be on your radar so that you know how to recognize symptoms and can take life-saving preventative steps.
Colon cancer is found in the large intestine and is most common in people over the age of 50. Colon cancer often begins as small groups of noncancerous cells that may become cancerous after some time.
Although there are some symptoms, such as digestive problems or abdominal pain, precancerous cells may not produce any noticeable symptoms. Therefore, it is recommended that people receive regular screenings which will allow for identification of precancerous cells that can be removed before they become cancerous.
How to Prevent Colon Cancer
Certain lifestyle changes may contribute to preventing colon cancer and helping maintain overall health.
- Eat healthy foods. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables may prevent cancer because of their vitamin, antioxidant, and fiber contents. This is especially important for the health of your digestive system, which breaks down these foods into the nutrients the rest of your body needs.
- Limit alcohol intake and stop smoking. Smoking and drinking too much alcohol have both been linked to an increased risk of developing cancer. Consider limiting your alcohol intake to one drink per day, and talk to your doctor about how to quit smoking.
- Stay active. Obesity and living an inactive lifestyle both increase the chance of developing cancer. Regular exercise will keep your body healthy and will help prevent unhealthy weight gain. Most doctors will recommend that you try to exercise for at least 30 mins every day, but you should talk to your primary care physician before beginning an exercise program.
How to Help raise awareness
Add your voice to those speaking out and bringing awareness to colon cancer. Starting important conversations and participating in raising awareness could help save lives.
- Do your research. One of the best ways to help raise awareness about colon cancer is by staying informed so that you can share information with the people in your life.
- Use social media. Social media is a great tool for reaching out to as many people as possible. Create a post about the risks and preventative measures associated with colon cancer, and share it on your social networks. You can also like and share other posts you see raising awareness about colon cancer.
- Start a conversation with family and friends. Social media is a great way to reach large amounts of people, but one of the most important things you can do is to start a conversation with those closest to you. Speak to those you love about the importance of receiving regular screenings, which could help prevent the development of colon cancer.
March is the month for you to speak out and educate the people in your life about the importance of receiving screenings and implementing other preventative measures into daily life. We encourage you to stay educated and make your voice heard on social media and in your family to help raise awareness about colon cancer.
If you would like to learn more about colon cancer and digestive health, or if you would like to find out how to schedule a screening, please visit our Gastroenterology page.