Recent statistics shows that approximately one hundred fifty thousand people will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year. Out of the 150,000 people who will be diagnosed with colon cancer, about one-third or 50,000 will die from it. However, most of them don’t have to since colon cancer is treatable. This is why colonoscopies are so important. Colonoscopies are done to detect early growths and prevent colon cancer. By the way, colon cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States next to lung cancer.
What Is A Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is basically an internal examination of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. It is done using an instrument called a colonoscope which has a very small camera. The camera is attached to a flexible tube that is able to reach the entire length of a human colon. When tumors are found early, almost all deaths from the disease can be prevented with treatment. This is why many experts are trying to raise awareness and educate others on colonoscopies and its importance.
Guidelines on colonoscopies have changed throughout the years. For example, white men and women are now advised who have no family history are advised to get their first colonoscopy at 50 years of age. For African-Americans, the age is now down to 45 because they are more prone to the disease. Preparations have also changed considerably.
In the past, patients were required to drink 4 liters of a special preparation one day before the colonoscopy. Many people had a difficult time drinking the preparation especially because of its bad taste. The new preparation is a lot better and patients are just required to drink 64 ounces of Gatorade mixed with 3 tablespoons of milk of magnesia and 230 grams of Miralax. Aside from tasting a lot better, the new preparation doesn’t require a prescription and can be bought over the counter.
How to Lower Cancer Risk
Aside from colonoscopies, there are other ways to cut your cancer risk. Among the best ways to reduce colon cancer risk is making dietary changes. First of all, to lower cancer risk you need to reduce total fat and saturated fat intake. Numerous researches indicate that dietary fat contributes to cancer.
Another way to lower cancer risk is by increasing intake of fiber. Out of all the research regarding food and cancer, the most conclusive is the relationship between a high fiber diet and lower chances of colon cancer. Basically, fiber moves carcinogens through the intestines faster thus decreasing the contact time between the intestinal wall and carcinogens.
According to recent research, pork is bad for colon health since it is not just high in fat but also high in iron. However, the number one food to avoid is beef since many researches have indicated that people who don’t get colon cancer don’t consume lots of red meat.