4 tips to protect your colon
By Robert Bresalier, M.D.
Colorectal cancer develops in the colon or rectum, and grows
slowly. In 2014, there will be an estimated 141,000 new colorectal cancer cases
in the United States and 49,000 related deaths. But colorectal cancer is preventable and
curable when detected early.
Here are my top four tips to help lower your risks for
Tip 1: Get screened
for colorectal cancer
remains the most important method to prevent colorectal cancer. People at
average risk, age 50 and older, should get a colonoscopy every 10 years. A colonoscopy
enables your doctor to detect potentially cancer-causing lesions or polyps
early, and remove them.
Tip 2: Don’t be
afraid of the exam
Patients shouldn’t fear a colonoscopy. It’s a straight-forward
procedure which doesn’t, in most cases, cause discomfort. It also has a very
low complication rate. And, knowing what is going on in your colon could save
Tip 3: Prep the right
way for a colonoscopy
Most people complain
about the laxative preparation. It
requires that you drink a large volume of liquid that generally doesn’t taste
very good. However, we now split the liquid into two doses. You drink one the
the exam and the second four to six hours before the exam. And, there have
been efforts at improving the taste.
The laxative procedure is very important. It ensures that
your colon is completely clean for your exam. And, a clean colon means your
doctor can spend more time carefully examining you.
Tip 4: Plan for what happens
Prevention doesn’t stop once you’ve had a colonoscopy.
You and your doctor need to discuss what happens next. Your doctor can create a personalized
screening plan for you based on your risk. That way, you can get screened at
intervals that are effective for you.
Watch this video to learn additional ways that you can lower
your risk for colorectal cancer, such as eating healthy and getting enough
For more info: 4 tips to protect your colon