cancer is the formation of malignant cells in the colon. Cancer statistics show that it can affect men and women of all ages and backgrounds but some individuals are at a greater risk for the disease. Every four minutes a person in the
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The fist step to know if you are at risk is based on a number of factors. These include: over the age of 50, have a family history of colon cancer or polyps, eat a high fat diet, use tobacco and/or alcohol in excess, lead an inactive lifestyle, or are overweight. In addition, if you have a personal history of polyps, bowel disease or diabetes your risk is higher than normal.
The second step to knowing if you are at risk is to know the warning signs. While in many cases there are no warning signs, there are a number of signs of colon cancer that you should be aware of and look for.
The possible signs include:
- A change in bowel habits that lasts more than a few days.
- Bright red or dark blood in the stool
- Pain or tenderness in the lower abdomen
- Anemia or tiredness
- Unexplained weight loss.
The best thing you can do to know if you are at risk is to see you healthcare provider and get screened. Men and women over the age of 50 should be screened. Also, those with a higher risk may need screening earlier or more often.
Don't let the fear of cancer keep you from recognizing the signs of colon cancer and seeking treatment. You can be a success story with early diagnosis and treatment.
Tips & Warnings
There are steps that you can take to help reduce your overall risk of cancer. Living a healthy lifestyle by being active and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the first step. Drink plenty of water and reduce your consumption of red and processed meats. Also, if you smoke, stop. Reduce your consumption of alcohol and increase the amount of fiber in your diet. See your healthcare provider at least once a year., See a specialist if you get a negative test result.
Consult your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program.