Reduce your colon cancer risk

We hear about prostate cancer awareness for men and breast cancer awareness for women, but there’s one cancer that both genders have an equal risk of developing: colon cancer.

Colorectal cancer surpasses both breast and prostate cancer as the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States. However, it’s a largely preventable disease with early screening and detection.


Hernando Gonzalez, MD, a gastrointestinal specialist at Hennepin County Medical Center recommends the following ways to reduce your risk of colon cancer:

• Get a regular colon cancer screening starting at age 50 if you’re at a normal risk. For those at high risk, due to personal or family history, your doctor may recommend screenings before age 50.

• Consume between 25 and 30 grams of fiber each day from fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and whole-grain breads. Eat a low-fat diet and maintain a healthy weight.

• Drink alcohol only in moderation (if you drink) and quit smoking.

• Aim for at least 20 minutes of exercise a day three to four times a week.

• Tell your doctor if you experience symptoms such as blood in your stool, a change in bowel habits, weight loss, stools that are narrower than usual, abdominal pains or other gastrointestinal symptoms.

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