Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States for both men and women combined. People with an average risk should consider screening beginning at age 50 and then every 5-10 years following. People with an increased risk, such as family history, should consider screening sooner. Colorectal cancer is a disease that can be prevented through regular screenings, a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Several screening options exist. Talk to your doctor about which tests are appropriate for you.
Early detection with screening tests is important because most people with early stage colon cancer have no symptoms. Symptoms usually appear only when the disease is more advanced.
Lifestyle changes to reduce your risk
Take steps to reduce your risk of colon cancer by making changes in your everyday life.
Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may play a role in cancer prevention.
Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.
Stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit that may work for you.
Exercise most days of the week. Try to get 30 minutes of exercise at least three days a week. If necessary, start slowly and build up gradually to 30 minutes. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Maintain a healthy weight. A healthy diet with daily exercise will help you maintain a good weight. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about safe ways to achieve your goal. Aim to lose weight slowly by increasing the amount of exercise you get and reducing the number of calories you eat.
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