In 2017, the American Cancer Society estimated 1,688,780 people would be diagnosed with colon cancer. While that number might seem alarming, the good news is the number of people who die from colon cancer continues to decline thanks to early detection and treatment advances. Colon cancer has become highly preventable, partly because of the awareness raised by Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which is celebrated in March.
Here at Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey (GANJ), we strive to educate patients all year long on the important steps they can take prevent the disease:
- Shed Some Weight. The truth is, patients that are overweight and obese are at a higher risk for cancer.
- Drink Filtered Water. At GANJ, we’ve always stressed the importance of water consumption for overall digestive health. What patients should also know is that filtered water is the cleanest, safest and healthiest choice. That’s because many un-filtered water taps contain carcinogens.
- Be Active. Ironically, in a country as large as ours, and with the access to the some of the best healthcare and physicians in the world, we simply are not listening to recommendations. In fact, more than 80 percent of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. However, physical activity has been linked to a reduced risk of 13 types of cancer (colon cancer being one of them). Simply walking just 30 minutes at three miles per hour (mph) five days a week can be enough to greatly reduce the risk of cancer in many patients.
- Limit Red Meat Consumption. Physicians and nutritionists are learning more and more every year on the risks associated with red meat. Red meats—as well as hot dogs, bacon and lunch meats—have been classified as carcinogens. Patients should opt for more meals with poultry and fish, as well as beans, eggs and other proteins.
- Quit Smoking. This is a given. In fact, this is so automatic that we can add it to any disease prevention list we educate our patients with. The chemicals in tobacco and smoke cause damage in the cells and genes of our body, where cancer arises. Among the 7,000 different chemicals found in tobacco, 60 are known carcinogens.
For more information about colon cancer or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, contact us today.