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Don’t Sit Out Your Colonoscopy

Aging Well

It’s the third most common cancer and second-leading cause of cancer-related death among men and women combined, but thanks to early detection we’re stopping more colorectal cancers before they start. On this week’s LivingWell Podcast we’ll help you identify your risk factors and learn when to start screenings.

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In this Episode

  • CJ Anderson
  • Dr. Jaime Aranda-Michel
  • Korri Ottman
Dr. Jamie Aranda-Michel

Dr. Jamie Aranda-Michel

Colorectal Cancer Risks

Colorectal Cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women (when you group them together). It’s also the second leading cause of death among all cancers. Groups of abnormal cells (called polyps) begin growing in the large intestine. These abnormal cells provide the opportunity for cancer to develop. This process can take years to happen, but ones the polyps are present the risk never goes away. Risk factors for this cancer include:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • A diet rich in red meats and/or processed foods

Fighting back with Lifestyle

On the other hand, these factors can reduce your risk:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise
  • Not smoking or drinking heavily
  • Eating a diet rick in vegetables, fruit and whole grain

Early Detection

Depending on your risk factors an age a colonoscopy is a powerful tool for finding and removing polyps before cancer has the opportunity to develop and spread. Over the past 10 years the number of colon cancer cases has gone down. Much of this credit goes to early detection efforts.

When to Get Screened

For most people age 50 is the right time to have your first colonoscopy. But if you have a family history or some of the risk factors listed above you may want to consider a colonoscopy sooner.

Make This Screening a Priority

A colonoscopy may not be high on anyone’s list, but here are a few ways to make it a little better:

  • Plan a reward for yourself for getting it completed (a special activity, a piece of jewelry, etc.)
  • Share your commitment to wellness with a group of friends or family. When you have all completed your colonoscopies celebrate together with a special meal or fun activity.
  • Talk to your doctor about open access to Adventist Health’s Gastroenterology clinic. For patients with good general health your doctor can refer you directly to the clinic for your colonoscopy, skipping an additional appointment in the Gastroenterology Clinic for a consultation before your procedure. It’s one less trip to the doctor’s office and one step closer to this potentially lifesaving screening.

Links:

Author: LivingWell PDX Blog

Adventist Health is committed to creating a healthier Portland community.

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