News You Can Use A monthly newsletter from the Cancer Learning Center March 2008 – Issue 34 Six Steps That Can Help Prevent Colon Cancer
Everyone’s heard the old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Well, it’s true. In honor of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the Prevent Cancer Foundation has made six suggestions to help you prevent colon and rectal cancers.
Get screened. Starting at age 50, you should have a fecal occult blood test every year, a sigmoidoscopy with a fecal occult blood test every fi ve years, and a colonoscopy every ten years. African American men and women should start colorectal screenings at age 45. If you are at high risk for colon cancer, talk with your doctor about when to begin screenings.
Exercise. Physical activity provides many benefi ts. In addition to reducing your risk of diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, it also reduces your risk of colon polyps. Polyps are abnormal growths in the lining of your colon that may become cancer. Experts recommend getting 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day.
Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese puts you at an increased risk of colorectal cancer. According to the Prevent Cancer Foundation, “Being overweight may increase levels of some hormones in
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the body,” which might increase your risk for colorectal cancer.
Reduce fat in your diet. Studies have shown a link between dietary fat and colorectal cancer, and countries that have high-fat diets (like the United States) have more colorectal cancer. Keep the fat in your diet to less than one-third of the calories you eat.
Eat a plant-based diet. A diet that is full of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains keeps your body healthy in many ways. It may also protect you against multiple cancers. You should try to eat at least fi ve servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Reduce alcohol use. Heavy alcohol use has been linked to colorectal cancer. If you drink, do so in moderation. This means no more than two drinks a day for men, and no more than one drink a day for women.
FROM THE CLC Books
Prevention, Diagnosis & Treatment of Colon Cancer
The Colon Cancer Survivors’ Guide: Living Stronger, Longer
Colon Cancer: What You Need to Know—NOW
Pocket Guide to Colorectal Cancer Drugs and Treatment
Be a Survivor: Colorectal Cancer Treatment Guide
100 Questions & Answers about Colorectal Cancer
A Patient’s Guide to Colorectal Cancer Treatment
Defeating Colon Cancer: Knowledge Is Power
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