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Wednesday, March 18, 2009 • Posted March 18, 2009

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

"What is a polyp anyway?"

"One of my parents had colon cancer. When should I have a colonoscopy? Am I at increased risk?"

"But I don't have any family history of colon cancer"

"No thanks - I've had the shorter flexible sigmoidoscopy. I don't want a colonoscopy!"

"I've heard bad things about the colonoscopy"

"I'm too modest for this procedure"

"My stool-cards are negative - so I don't need a colonoscopy, right?"

"I'm 75 years old and have never had a colonoscopy, should I?"

"I'VE HEARD THAT MEN DON'T GET COLON CANCER AS OFTEN AS WOMEN - AND THAT MEN DON'T NEED TO HAVE COLONOSCOPIES." What do you think?

Men don*t get colon cancer, right?

FALSE!!!

But too many men are generally more doctor-avoidant. It can take A LOT to get a man to go to the doctor, and when he does finally go, for the most part he goes kicking and screaming at the insistence of his significant other. Does this sound like someone you know?

Maybe the average man thinks to himself, "I don't have to worry about colon cancer. I'll worry about prostate cancer," or maybe something like, "I feel fine, so I must be fine."

Maybe he's worried what the doctor will find wrong with him.

Maybe he's been ribbed by his buddies at work in relation to seeing a gastroenterologist— and he does not like the sound of having a colonoscopy. Sounds too embarrassing.

First, let's clarify the term "COLORECTAL CANCER." This is a term used to refer to colon cancer and/or rectal cancer (the rectum is the end-most portion of the colon). The terms 'colon cancer' and 'colorectal cancer' can be used interchangeably.

Colorectal cancer is the 2nd most common cause of cancer-related deaths in this country, and the 3rd most common cancer in general.

In terms of frequency, it is only preceded by lung cancer, prostate cancer for men & breast cancer for women. Each year more than 150,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer in the U.S. and over 50,000 people die from it annually.

Over the past 15 years, the number of deaths from colorectal cancer has been dropping. One explanation for this is because pre-cancerous growths (polyps) are being found and removed before they have a chance to become cancers.

Colon cancer is also being found earlier, before it has progressed or spread to other organs. The earlier it is found, the easier it is to cure. Treatments have also improved; however, more importantly Colon/Colorectal cancer is as follows:

You have the power to prevent colon cancer.

Are you 50 or older?

The American Cancer Society recommends that you get tested.

Regardless of race or gender, everyone needs to be screened for colon cancer.

This year an estimated 50,000 people will die from the disease.

Colon cancer almost always starts with a polyp, a small growth on the lining of the colon or rectum. Finding and removing polyps before they become cancerous can stop it before it starts.

There are several tests to check for colon cancer. Talk with your doctor or nurse about these tests, how often they are done, and which test is best for you!

The Bottom Line

One third of all cancer deaths are related to diet and activity factors. Let’s challenge ourselves to lose some extra pounds, to increase our physical activity, to make healthy food choices, and to look for ways to make our environments healthier places to live, work, and play.

The state Nutrition, Physical Activity & Obesity Prevention Program (NPAOP) works to reduce the burden of death and disease related to overweight and obesity in Texas @ http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/obesity/NPAOPprogrampage.shtm.

Eat and exercise your way to better health. What you eat (or don’t eat) and how active you are can influence your risk of developing cancer.

70 percent of colon cancers could be prevented with only moderate changes in diet and lifestyle Reduce excess calorie consumption-the real culprit is saturated fat.

Processed and red meats: Cutting back on processed meats like hot dogs, bologna, and luncheon meat, and red meats like beef, pork and lamb may help reduce the risk of colon and prostate cancers.

Refined carbohydrates, which include sugars and refined grains, may be more damaging than other sources of calories.

Vegetables and fruits: You need to eat at least 5 servings of vegetables (including legumes) and fruits each day, especially those with the most color (a sign of high nutrient content). These foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and many other substances that work together to lower risk of several cancers, including cancers of the lung, mouth, esophagus, stomach, and colon. Not only that, if prepared properly, vegetables and fruits are usually low in calories, so eating them in place of higher-calorie foods can help you control your weight.

Whole grains: Aim for at least 3 servings of whole grains each day. There are easy ways to add whole grains to your diet — eat oatmeal at breakfast, choose whole-wheat bread or wraps for your lunchtime sandwich, whip up brown rice at dinner instead of white.

One of the best ways to find out if you are at a healthy weight is to check your Body Mass Index (BMI), a score based on the relationship between your height and weight. Use our easy online BMI calculator to find out your score.

To reduce your cancer risk, try to keep your BMI less than 25.

Share this message - save a life.

1.800.ACS.2345

www.cancer.org

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