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Join the Fight Against Colon Cancer

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and it is now recommended by the CDC and American Cancer Society to get screened for colorectal cancer at the age of 45. The American Cancer Society states that colorectal cancer cases are on the rise among young and middle-aged individuals.

Colon cancer is the growth of malignant cells in the colon. Cancer of the colon is highly treatable and often curable when detected early. When detected in its earliest stages and localized in the colon, about 90% of colon cancer cases are treatable. Scheduling a colonoscopy is one of the best things individuals can do to prevent and detect colon cancer. If pre-cancerous polyps are detected during a colonoscopy, they can be removed during the procedure.

“For individuals 45 and over, a colonoscopy is a necessary step in maintaining colon health. Staying up-to-date on screenings and surveillance is the best way to prevent any life-threatening cancers from developing,” says gastroenterologist Dr. H. Whitney Jennings.

There are several genetic and lifestyle risk factors of colon cancer. While the greatest risk factor is aging, here is a list of others to be aware of:

  • Colorectal cancer history in a family member, such as a first-degree relative
  • Personal history of colorectal adenomas, colorectal cancer, or ovarian cancer
  • Hereditary conditions like familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • Cigarette smoking or excessive alcohol consumption
  • Obesity

In addition to being aware of your risks and scheduling regular preventative screenings, there are certain things you can do to maintain and improve not just your colon health, but also the overall health of your body and its functions.

  • Chew your food thoroughly to aid enzymes in your digestive system to better break down food.
  • Eating fewer fried foods, red meat and other high-fat foods may lower your chances of developing colon cancer.
  • Reduce stress levels by practicing techniques like yoga, journaling, therapy, or meditation.
  • Increase intake of probiotics which are found in foods such as yogurt and pickles.
  • Increase daily fiber and whole-grain intake for optimum colon health.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption.
  • Hydration is key to a healthy colon. You should drink about eight glasses of water a day, or 64 ounces.

Our Gastroenterology doctors and nurses are ready to answer any questions you may have. For more information or to discuss your risks, contact our Gastroenterology offices in Rome or Cartersville by visiting here.

Published March 28, 2022