If you're nearing your 45th birthday, now's the time to schedule your first colonoscopy. After that, you should schedule a follow-up screening about once every ten years. Colon cancer screening helps identify polyps that could be cancerous. But, colonoscopies also help identify other issues you might be having. Those issues can include rectal bleeding and intestinal distress. In addition to colon cancer screenings, there are other steps you can take to protect against colon cancer.
Here are four steps you can take to reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Make Changes to Your Daily Diet
If you want to lower your risk of developing colon cancer, it's time to make changes to your diet. You might not realize it, but diet plays a big role in reducing your risk of colon cancer. Limit your consumption of red meat. Eliminate processed meat from your diet. That includes bacon, sausage, and processed lunch meat. Increase your consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables. Finally, increase the amount of calcium and fiber you consume each day.
Take Charge of Your Health
If you're ready to reduce your risk of colon cancer, now's the time to take charge of your health. One way to do that is to get your annual checkups. Another way is to add exercise to your daily routine. Eliminating alcohol and tobacco can also reduce your risk of colon cancer. Also, if you're overweight, now's the time to start a weight loss program. It's also a good idea to talk to your doctor about other steps you can take to reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Consider Other Screening Methods
If you want to safeguard your health, talk to your doctor about other screening methods. Colonoscopies aren't the only way to detect colon cancer. There are several other methods you can use. Stool-based colon cancer screenings allow you to screen for colon cancer from the privacy of your home. You can use a small amount of your stool to test for cancer. These tests give you another tool for the early detection of colon cancer.
Know Your Cancer Risk
If you're concerned about colon cancer, make sure you know your risks. Some of those risks include age and family history. Some medical conditions also increase your risk of colon cancer. Those conditions include inflammatory bowel disease and Chrone's disease. If you fall into any of those risk categories, you should get colon cancer screenings more often.