According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, affecting men and women equally. In 2017, the agency reported 141,425 cases of colorectal cancer.
Such alarming prevalence can be ascribed to the mysterious, elusive nature of the disease: researchers are yet to discover a proven way to completely prevent it.
Nonetheless, there are proactive measures you can take to lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer. Let’s check them out.
· Cut back on red meat and processed foods.
While studies don’t perfectly coincide, many suggest that people who eat a lot of red meat and processed foods (hotdogs, canned food, etc.) are at a greater risk of developing colon cancer. The reason why red meat might contribute to a person’s risk of colon cancer remains unclear. However, there are some studies that reveal that heme iron (a form of iron found in animal foods that contain hemoglobin) is a culprit in the development and growth of cancer cells.
· Engage in regular physical activity.
You must’ve heard time and time again how a sedentary lifestyle can cause a myriad of health complications. In particular, a sedentary lifestyle can wreak havoc on your colon health and can place you at an increased risk of colon cancer.
Each week, you should complete at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activities or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercises. If this sounds a little overwhelming, try to aim for just a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day. The goal is to move more and consistently.
· Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI).
There are many serious health conditions associated with obesity, and one of these is colorectal cancer. Consult your doctor to determine what the ideal BMI should be for your height.
Through exercise and diet, strive to get as close to your ideal BMI as possible. If that doesn’t seem feasible, at least you can start by losing just five to ten percent of your body weight, then go from here.
· Get your diabetes under control
Diabetes is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. Therefore, if you’re living with diabetes, you should adhere to the health recommendations your doctor gave you to help you take full control of your condition, and consequently, to reduce your likelihood of developing colorectal cancer.
· Mind your alcohol consumption.
Heavy alcohol usage has been linked to a higher risk of colorectal cancer. You should limit your alcohol intake or stop drinking totally to decrease your risk.
· Get colon cancer screenings regularly.
As a general recommendation, you should go for routine colon cancer screenings, including fecal testing and colonoscopy, starting at age of 40, if you have an average risk for colon cancer. Although this isn’t a prevention technique, it can help detect colorectal cancer at its early stages and when it’s still treatable. Talk to your physician about your risk to determine how frequently you should get screened.
Colorectal Cancer Screening in Brooklyn or Westlake, OH
If you think you’re at risk of colorectal cancer or are reaching the age to begin routine testing, contact us at North Shore Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Centers for a consultation with one of our board-certified gastroenterologists. We provide a number of high-quality colorectal cancer tests and will help you decide as to which option is the most suitable for you.
You may call us at 440-808-1212 or use our appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!