Health column: Cancer conversations
Have you talked to your doctor about colon cancer? Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women. Your colon is an important part of your body’s digestive system. It works to remove waste products from your body.
Colon cancer is most treatable when it is found early; it can be found early through screening tests. Some tests check for hidden blood in your stool while other tests use special cameras to look for odd or unusual areas of your colon that could be cancerous.
The most common signs of colon cancer are blood in your stool or a change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation that lasts more than a few days.
Your chance for getting colon cancer increases with age, especially after age 50. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends men and women begin colon cancer screening at age 50 and continue until age 75. You may start sooner if there is a history of colon cancer in your family. People with a family history of colon cancer have a higher risk of getting the disease.
Below are some tips to lower your risk of getting colon cancer:
Keep a healthy weight
Do not smoke
Eat a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables
Limit the amount of red and processed meats you eat
Interested in learning more about colon cancer? Check with your local healthcare provider and visit Cancer.Net and MedlinePlus.Gov. You may also attend “Cancer Conversations,” a monthly educational webinar series that UNC Lenoir Health Care hosts in partnership with UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The topic for March is, “Colon Cancer Screening: What Is It and Why Should I Have It?” presented by Teri Malo, PhD, MPH, a research scientist at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The program is free and open to the general public. This is just another way that UNC Lenoir Health Care and UNC Lineberger are working together to bring cancer information and resources to your community.