What are the first steps in colorectal cancer prevention? HCB2 has the following quick tips:
Know your family history.
We are learning more about how genetics plays a role in our health every year. Talk with your parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, if this is an option, and discuss the past histories of relatives. Many cancers are related to one another so it’s important to understand if your body might be vulnerable to cancerous tumors. For example, risk of colon cancer is 2-3x higher when a first degree relative is diagnosed. It may be in your best interest to get screened at earlier or more frequent intervals if you have a family history.
Understand that diet plays a role in creating an environment where cancer cells thrive.
Cancer cells will thrive in an inflamed, low oxygenated environment AND cancer loves sugar. If we continue to eat processed foods filled with poor quality fats (all “vegetable” oils), sugar, sugar substitutes, chemicals and preservatives that our bodies are not wired to breakdown and eliminate, then we are creating an inflamed, acidic, toxic environment within the body where cancer can flourish! How does that happen? Processed fats can cause our cell membranes to become hardened interfering with oxygen uptake within the cells. Free radicals generated as regular byproducts of our bodies’ different processes (in addition to excessive exposure to toxins and other things our bodies just don’t need) can also lead to cellular insufficiency and DNA damage. Our guts can also become ‘leaky’ or become less efficient in eliminating toxins, absorbing nutrients, and sustaining our “good-guy” bacteria when our diets are devoid of nutrients, which we desperately need in order to support a strong immune system. Eating quality fats, clean proteins, and organic produce from all colors of the rainbow helps to fight against all cancers! It’s NEVER too late to make small changes to your diet. You have a choice several times each day!
Know the Symptoms & Get Screened
Screening saves lives. Many cancers, such as colon cancer, are treatable and beatable if discovered early. Many times there are no symptoms in the early stages when a screen can detect an issue. However, chronic constipation, changes in bowel habits, blood in stools, thin stools are all signals of gastric distress and need to be addressed by a doctor. Talk with your doctor about the FIT screening tool – a simple, noninvasive test completed in the privacy of your own home.
A non-invasive screening tool which can determine if more tests are necessary. Your doctor may not offer the quick test, so it’s the patient’s responsibility to be proactive and request the screen!
Walk and Talk
Lack of exercise will create a low oxygenated body where cancer can multiply. Moving the body stimulates the lymphatic system which helps to transport toxins out of the body. The lymphatic system is only stimulated during muscle contraction or manual manipulation. Moving those muscles is imperative to cleansing the body of harmful substances. A clean diet and consistent daily exercise/movement creates conditions less favorable for cancer to thrive. Stay informed and proactive by talking with others; family, friends, neighbors, and doctors. Talk about new ways to prepare meals. Talk about the new farmer’s markets opening up in town for fresh produce. Talk about ways to fit in exercise on a daily basis. Talk about different methods to eliminate stress. Let’s talk about how we can live vibrantly!
Pay attention to what your body is telling you.
You are the expert on your body. You know your energy levels, your sleep cycle, the marks on your skin, the normal lumps or bumps, your elimination habits, your appetite, and your average aches or twinges. If any change is noticeable, seek medical advice.
YOU are the expert and YOU are the first line of defense!
LINC: Legal resources to help with the challenges of cancer. LINC is a local Richmond organization.
FIT: Fecal Immunochemical Test (simple, noninvasive in-home screening tool)
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