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Tips to Keep Your Colon Healthy

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Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S. and will account for 53,010 deaths in 2024, according to the American Cancer Society.

When combined – proper screenings, healthy lifestyle changes and increased awareness can decrease your chances of developing colon cancer:

1 – Eat your veggies and healthy fats
Focus on a high-fiber diet and limit the amount of meat you eat, especially processed meats. Avoid fried food which are high in low-processed fats and eat healthy fats – found in olive oil, salmon rich in Omega-3, avocados, and nuts.

2 – Get moving and watch your weight
Exercise benefits your heart, helps maintain your weight and may lower your risk of developing cancer. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days.

3 – Limit alcohol and don’t smoke
If you choose to drink alcohol, do so moderately. That means no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. And if you smoke, quit.

4 – Follow screening guidelines
One of the most important cancer prevention strategies is following the colon cancer screening guidelines based on age, risk factors and family history.

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Colorectal screening

Finding colon cancer at its earliest stage provides the greatest chance for a cure.

Unfortunately, many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms at all in the early stages of the disease and by the time pain, bleeding and changes in the bowel habits occur the cancer may not be curable.

The recommended age to start screening is 45, however people with an increased risk should get screened sooner with one of the following screening options:

  • Colonoscopy
    With a flexible scope, the entire colon and rectum is examined for precancerous polyps, which are removed during the procedure.
  • Cologuard DNA stool test – With a stool sample, the test looks for blood or DNA changes in cells. If the test is positive, a follow-up colonoscopy is required.

Talk to your health care team about what colon screening option is right for you.