Colorectal Cancer Prevention
It is important not to smoke in order to avoid colorectal cancer. Also, it is important to avoid a diet high in fat. Eating a diet high in green leafy vegetables and high in a variety of fruits is also very important. Research also has shown that regular exercise helps prevent all kinds of cancer.
Help Reduce Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer
- If you smoke, please consider getting help to quit through one of WellStar’s tobacco cessation programs. WellStar physicians know that not smoking is one of the most important things a person can do to avoid cancer.
- Avoid excess body fat by limiting caloric intake and/or balance caloric intake with ample moderate-to-vigorous exercise.
- Limit alcoholic beverages to no more than one a day.
Tests and Screenings for Colorectal Cancer
One of the most effective screening tools in medicine is colonoscopy, which researchers have said has contributed to a sharp decline in colorectal cancer incidence.
WellStar gastroenterologists are highly trained in colonoscopy, a procedure that takes no more than 30 minutes and can not only detect but actually treat a pre-cancerous lesion. Colonoscopy is recommended for all people over age 50, but you should have one earlier if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or if you are experiencing symptoms of colorectal cancer.
Your WellStar physician will steer you to the right decision about when to have your first colonoscopy and how often to follow up. While colonoscopy is considered the gold-standard, your WellStar physician may have reason to order other screening tests:
- Fecal Occult Blood Test: By looking at a stool sample, a physician can sometimes see whether blood is in the stool. Blood can be a symptom of a cancer, because cancers sometimes bleed. If the FOBT reveals blood in the stool, your doctor will order other tests to determine if cancer is present.
- Double-contrast barium enema:You are given an enema with the mineral barium in it. X-rays are then taken of your colon and rectum.
- Sigmoidoscopy: Using a tube called a sigmoidscope, you r doctor can examine inside the rectum and lower part of your colon. While helpful, this test is not as thorough as a colonscopy, which examines the entire colon.
- Digital rectal exam: Your doctor can feel for abnormalities in the rectum by using a gloved finger. This procedure is sometimes part of a routine physical exam. You may want to ask your physician if this is something you should consider.