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.