Colon Cancer Prevention: Do These 6 Things and Your Colon Will Thank You

Colorectal cancer (i.e., colon cancer) is considered one of the most common cancers that occur in the U.S. for both men and women. It is estimated that one out of every 23 men and one out of every 25 women will develop rectal or colon cancer at some point during their life.

However, there are a few things everyone can do to help reduce their risk of this disease, including some natural options at Some of the best ways for anyone to protect their colorectal health can be found here.

  1. Schedule Colorectal Cancer Screening

A screening is a test that searches for cancer before the symptoms and signs start to develop. A colorectal screening can help a doctor find growths that have developed in the rectum or the colon called polyps. Once found, these can be removed before they have the chance to turn into cancer.

The tests can find rectal or colon cancer earlier when the treatments are more likely to be successful. According to information from The American Cancer Society, it is best to begin testing for this condition at the age of 45.

There are several screening options. If one of the following tests finds something suspicious, it is a good idea to follow-up with a colonoscopy.

The Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) should be done each year. This test will search for any hidden blood in the stool, which could be an early sign of cancer. This test is easy and quick. With this test, a small sample of a person’s stool is collected at home, and then it is sent out to a lab for testing.

Another test is the colonoscopy, which needs to be done every 10 years. With this test, a small flexible tube including a camera at the end is used for examining the entire length of the colon from the inside. A person will be sedated while undergoing this test, so they will need someone to drive them home after the test is done. If the exam finds polyps or another type of suspicious growth, they can be removed when the test is being done.

The third test option is a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy, which should be done every five years. This exam is like the colonoscopy but will use a smaller flexible tube for examining the lower end of a person’s colon, which is called the sigmoid. There is no need to be sedated during a sigmoidoscopy.

The last option is a virtual colonoscopy, which should be done every five years. With this testing process, a type of CT scan is done that creates a very accurate and precise 3-D image of the interior of the colon. During the test, a small tube will be inserted into the rectum and gently inflate it with air. This scan only lasts for a few minutes.

  1. Eat Plenty of Whole Grains, Vegetables, and Fruits

A person who follows a diet that includes plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will reduce the likelihood they will develop rectal or colon cancer. Try to limit the amount of red meat consumed, such as lamb, pork, and beef, along with processed meats, which include deli meat and hot dogs. These are all foods that have been linked with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

  1. Participate in Regular Physical Activity

If a person is not physically active, there is a much higher chance they will develop rectal or colon cancer. When someone increases their activity, it can also help to reduce the risk of this condition. Using resources available online to learn more about the best activities for a person to reduce their activity is a good idea.

  1. Get Plenty of Vitamin D and Calcium

There is some evidence that shows getting plenty of vitamin D and calcium can help to protect a person against colon cancer. Try to get between 1,000 and 1,2000 milligrams each day of calcium, along with 1,000 IU per day of vitamin D. There are some groups and experts who recommend being tested for a vitamin D deficiency, especially for those who have an increased risk of low levels, like those living in the northern portions of the country, along with elderly people, people who are overweight or obese, and people who have darker skin.

  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Besides smoking, nothing else is going to increase the risk of cancer more than someone who is overweight. There are approximately 11 cancers that are linked to gaining weight and obesity, and this includes colon cancer. The goal here is to weight what a person did when they were 18. If someone has put on weight, the first goal should be to stop gaining weight. This offers an array of health benefits alone. For an even bigger health boost, try to leave some more weight, but safely and over time. Don’t lose too much weight, too quickly, as this can have negative effects on a person’s health.

  1. Don’t Smoke

A long-term smoker is much more likely than a non-smoker to develop and pass away due to rectal or colon cancer. If a person smokes now, but they are trying to quit, or if they know someone who wants to quit, the American Cancer Society offers a guide to being able to successfully quit tobacco. Seeking help with not smoking can increase a person’s likelihood of success.

Important Risk Factors for Colon Cancer

While colon cancer is a completely preventable situation, there are other risk factors that cannot be controlled. Knowing the ones that apply to a person’s situation can help them better understand their risks and help them take the necessary steps to lower it. Some of the things that can increase the risk of colon cancer include old age, family history of the condition, inflammatory bowel disease, and being tall.

Knowing how to prevent colon cancer is the best way to ensure the condition is avoided. Being informed and working with a doctor can also help, so this is also highly recommended.

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