Ways to Prevent Colon Cancer

Mar 22, 2016

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in America. When talking about the prevention of any disease there seems to be a common story-line. Colorectal cancer is no different. There are a few key things that will help reduce your risk of developing these diseases. Eat smart, live an active lifestyle and avoid unhealthy choices like smoking or overuse of alcohol. While all of that sounds easy enough, we know that life gets complicated and people are short on time, money and resources, but the bottom line is that your health has to come first.

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Make Healthy Food Choices

  • Reduce your intake of red meat or processed meats.
    • Substitutes include chicken breast or fish. These meats can be prepared in countless ways that can provide a variety of flavors that will please your palate.  Some great online recipe sites to find new menus are www.allrecipes.com, www.cookinglight.com and www.popsugar.com.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. It is estimated that only 25% of Americans are actually eating the recommended 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day. These foods are rich in antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins and minerals and help keep your system in tip top shape. Click HERE to download a veggie tracker sheet from Cooking Light to help motivate you to increase your intake!

Increase Your Physical Activity

  • It is recommended that you get 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week. That translates to 2.5 hours/week or just a little over 20 minutes/day. When you break it out as such, we can all squeeze in 20 minutes of walking, jogging, riding a bike or even dancing into our day. Make it fun and get your heart rate up. You will begin to feel the difference it makes both physically and mentally once you decide to stick to it.
  • Some fun activities might include:
    • A brisk lunchtime walk with a coworker
    • A bike ride on the new Greenway Trails
    • A slow jog with your dog
    • A new dance class. Salsa anyone?

Do Not Smoke

If you are a smoker and you would like assistance with a cessation program that would work for you, please contact your physician and we would be more than happy to make some recommendations.

Limit your Alcohol Intake

  • Recommendations are an average of 1 or less alcoholic drinks per day during the week.
  • To help moderate your intake, make a rule that you will only have a drink on the weekends. Not only will this help you moderate your consumption of alcohol, but it is a good way to cut out extra calories and lose a few pounds while you are at it.

Get Screened

  • Regular screenings is the number one method for preventing and detecting colon and rectal cancers after the age of 50. By getting your regular screenings, you are not only able to find the cancer at it’s earliest stage, but doctors are able to remove polyps that have the potential to develop into cancer.
  • Follow the 50/10 rule for your screenings. After the age of 50, get your screening every 10 years.
  • If you have increased risk through family history or have had polyps removed in the past, your screenings will need to be more frequent. Please talk with your physician about establishing a timeline for these.
  • Call us to make your appointment TODAY at 252-413-6260 or log into our patient portal HERE.

By following all of the above, you will not only be doing your part to help prevent colorectal cancer, but you will be preventing a whole slew of diseases that can shorten your life. So make the time to take care of you so you can live the long life that you deserve.