Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. Incredibly, it is also the only cancer that is preventable through testing and screening. Mammograms for women and prostate screening for men are valuable tools to diagnose cancer at an early treatable stage. However, colonoscopy screening can actually prevent colon cancer by removing precancerous lesions knows as polyps.
American Cancer Society statistics reveal that colon cancer at one time was the #1 cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. Routine screening has reduced the death rate of colon cancer. Screening works!
Risk factors for colon cancer are many and varied. Twenty percent of people who develop colon cancer have a family member affected with the same disease. Most cases of colon cancer develop in people with NO family history.
Other risk factors include diabetes, physical inactivity, obesity, smoking and heavy alcohol use. Diet is an obvious risk factor — diets high in red meat and process food predispose one to colon cancer. As expected, a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, fiber and whole grains lower the risk of colon cancer.
So, how can you be proactive regarding your colorectal health? First, get over the idea of talking about colorectal disease. Remember, it is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women. If you are 50 years or older, you should get a screening colonoscopy.
The Affordable Health Care Act mandates that all insurance companies cover this potentially lifesaving test. If you are under the age of 50, get stool cards to check for blood in the stool; if positive, discuss with your doctor about getting a colonoscopy. And if necessary, lose weight, increase your physical activity and if you smoke — stop!
Colorectal cancer is a preventable disease. Be proactive through changing your diet, increasing your activity, and quitting smoking. Take charge of your health. Empower yourself with the knowledge to protect yourself and the ones you love.
Schedule an appointment today with Medical Associates of North Georgia. Call 770-470-5535.
Dr William Early is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and a Diplomate in the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Dr. Early founded and is the managing partner of Medical Associates, one of the largest and most renowned multi specialty centers in the state of Georgia. Dr. Early has received numerous accolades and many awards. Highlights would include being named Cherokee County’s Citizen of the Year and being recognized as one of the 30 most influential citizens of Cherokee County for the past century.