Important Tips for Colon Cancer Prevention

When it comes to colon cancer, prevention is the best medicine.

When you break down colon cancer, not only do you get the words "colon" and "cancer" but you also get an understanding of why it's a topic that many people avoid as "yucky" or "scary." But it need not be either of those things. When it comes to colon cancer, taking prevention measures is fairly simple and some of the best medicine. In honor of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, here are a few things you can do:

Be aware. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. It's much wiser to take preventative steps than it is to avoid the subject altogether.

• Understanding polyps. Most colon cancer begins as noncancerous polyps that only become cancerous over an extended period of time. A colonoscopy is designed to find and remove polyps before they pose a problem or become cancerous.

• Know what a colonoscopy involves. Prepping for a colonoscopy involves cleansing your colon. Your doctor may require a liquid diet, laxatives or a prescription medication. During the procedure, your doctor will use a flexible tube called a colonoscope and a very small camera to examine your colon and rectum. While the test may be mildly uncomfortable, it's typically not painful and your doctor can prescribe you medication to ease any discomfort.

• Get tested. The American Cancer Society guidelines recommend that people at average risk of colon cancer get a colonoscopy first at age 50 and then once every ten years. 

• Remember the numbers. According to the American Cancer Society, the survival rate for cases in which colon cancer is found early is ninety percent.

To learn more about about preventing colon cancer or scheduling a colonoscopy, talk with your doctor. If you would like help finding someone to speak with, use our online Find a Physician service or call us at 1-855-80PLAZA for a physician referral.

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