Color Your Colon Happy

Did you know that most colon cancer is largely preventable? Keeping your weight under control, staying active, schedule your regular screening colonoscopy, and eat a healthy diet.

  1. Weight Control – being obese is a risk factor for a number of different types of cancer, including colorectal cancers. It is never too late to start, losing weight will always give a variety of health benefits.
  2. Stay Active – this doesn’t just mean hitting the gym a couple of times per week. Studies show that if you are in good shape, exercise regularly, but sit all day at a desk you have an increased risk of colon cancer. Get up from your desk at regular intervals, move around, stand while taking phone calls – just get up out of your seat.
  3. Schedule your colonoscopy – screening tests are the best way to to avoid developing colon cancer. Doctors look for, and remove if found, small polyps before they become cancerous. Everyone should have a screening at the age of 50; exceptions are: African Americans should be screened at age 45 and if you have a family history or personal history of colon cancers or polyps you should follow your doctor’s recommendations for appropriate screening age and intervals.
  4. Eat a healthy diet – low fat/high fiber diets rich in a vegetables of a variety of colors – emphasize the dark green leafy vegetables with plenty of red, orange and yellow thrown in for good measure. Eat healthy fats in limited portions; like olive oil and avocados. For example, a serving size for an avocado is 1/8 – 1/4 of a medium sized fruit. So a bowl full of guacamole and a bag of chips should not be considered a health food. Also, limit alcohol, red meat, and heavily charred foods.

 

Why A Gastroenterologist?

How do you choose a provider? If you need your house painted would you hire a portrait painter or someone who pants houses everyday. The portrait painter may be able to get the job done but the experienced house painter could do it more efficiently, deal with common problems more effectively, and produce consistent results.

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (June 11, 21012), the same is true when choosing a doctor to perform your colonoscopy. Patients who have their colonoscopies performed by a gastroenterologist are less likely to die from colon cancer than patients who were either never screened or those screened by a physician other than a gastroenterologist. When compared to unscreened people, the statistics break down like this:

  • Those screened by a gastroenterologist had a 65% lower risk
  • Those screened by a primary care doctor had a 57% lower risk
  • Those screened by a surgeon had a 45% lower risk

Why? When you do something everyday, you get good at it. Gastroenterologist are more likely to see small precancerous polyps and remove them completely. You should know that you have the right to request a gastroenterologist when you are being advised to have a colonoscopy. If you live in the greater Asheville, North Carolina area, please request a physician at Asheville Gastroenterology Associates.