If you see people wearing blue during the month of March, they may not simply be expressing a color preference. They may be participating in Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Started in 2000 by President Clinton, the annual event is designed to promote colon cancer screening, which saves lives.
Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers in the country, but only if caught early enough for treatment. Make an appointment with NYC Gastroenterologist Dr. Shawn Khodadadian to take advantage of the myriad of tests available. The procedures to prevent colon cancer also detect rectal cancer, so the tests are a win-win.
At Risk for Colon Cancer?
Not everyone is at risk for colorectal cancer. If you fall into one of the high-risk categories, make sure you get regular colon cancer screenings, watch your diet and get plenty of exercise. To find out if you are at risk, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you over the age of 50?
- Have you suffered from inflammatory bowel disease?
- Do you have a family history of colon cancer?
- Are you a man 5’11” or taller or a woman 5’8″ or taller?
Colon cancer forms within the long part of the large intestine, in particular in the cells that release fluids and mucus. It’s the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S. According to the Siteman Cancer Center, though, 75 percent of all colon cancer cases can be prevented.
Preventing Colon Cancer in Manhattan
If you are at risk, follow the direction of your bowel doctor and submit to a screening. Your Gastroenterologist can remove polyps during the screening process. Polyps are the precursors to colon cancer. The most common tests include:
- Virtual colonoscopy
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Double-contrast barium enema
Lifestyle plays a significant role in preventing colon cancer as well. While you can’t change the past and even if the genes you inherited make you at risk for colon cancer, you can make smart choices starting today to increase your chances of remaining cancer-free.
- Take vitamins, especially those that contain calcium, vitamin D and folate.
- Limit red meat to no more than three servings per week.
- Drink alcohol moderately, which means up to one drink per day for women and two drinks for men. If you don’t drink, don’t start.
- Quit if you smoke cigarettes. Studies found smoking contributes to 14 different cancers, including colon cancer.
- Exercise 30 minutes per day and maintain a healthy weight.
- Take a low-dose aspirin daily if your colon doctor agrees because while evidence points to its effectiveness in preventing colon cancer, it has side effects.
Dress in Blue!
By dressing in blue during the month of March, people across the country are reminding others to get regular colon cancer screenings. You can join them and save lives. Share this information with your loved ones in March and every month throughout the year. Help beat colorectal cancer.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Khodadadian, a New York City Gastroenterologist, who specializes in colon cancer screenings.