5 Steps that Can Reduce Your Risk for Colon Cancer

Colorectal cancers, which include cancers of the colon and rectum, are the second-deadliest type of cancer. Around one in 20 people will develop colorectal cancer at some point during their lifetime.

At Texas Surgical Care in Kingwood, Texas, Dr. Ronald Ambe can help advise you of your colon cancer risks, and help you reduce those risks with lifestyle changes. And his expertise in colorectal surgery makes him the ideal choice of doctor for those with a colon cancer diagnosis.

Symptoms of colon cancer

As you age, your risk of colon cancer goes up. It’s important to pay attention to changes in your bathroom habits, as they can often be an early warning sign that something is wrong with your colon. Symptoms of colon cancer include persistent changes in your bowel habits such as:

  • Diarrhea, constipation, or changes in stool consistency
  • Blood in your stool or coming from the rectum
  • Cramps, gas, or other frequent abdominal discomfort or pain
  • A feeling of bowel fullness even after going to the bathroom

You might also notice unexplained weight loss or feelings of weakness or fatigue.

Risks for colon cancer

You are at high risk for colon cancer of any of the following apply to you:

  • You’re over 50 years of age
  • You have a family history of colon cancer
  • You’re obese (especially if you’re male)
  • You’re not physically active
  • You’re eating a lot of red meat
  • You’re a smoker and / or drinker

Your risk also goes up if you have a history of inflammatory bowel disease or colorectal polyps.

5 ways to reduce your risk for colon cancer

You can help reduce your risk for colon cancer by taking the following steps:

1. Get screened regularly

If you are over 50 or have multiple risk factors, Dr. Ambe may recommend annual screening for signs of colorectal cancer. A colonoscopy is the most common and accurate screening tool.

2. Reduce your red meat consumption

Red meat contains heme iron, which has been connected in studies to gene mutations and an increased risk of cancer. Cutting down to two meals of red meat a week can help reduce your risk.

3. Cut back on alcohol

Alcohol use has been linked with many different types of cancers, including colorectal cancer. If you’re at risk, especially if you’re male, you should cut down on how many nights per week you drink, and how many drinks you have at one sitting.

4. Stop smoking

While smoking is most commonly associated with mouth, throat, and lung cancer, it can also make you 18% more likely to develop colorectal cancer.

5. Take Vitamin D

While it’s not clear exactly how Vitamin D lowers cancer risk, a 16-year study found that high levels of vitamin D were associated with a 20% lower relative risk of cancer in both men and women.

If you believe you are at risk for colorectal cancer or have received a diagnosis, acting swiftly is important. Call the office at 832-280-8691 or book an appointment through the online booking tool to meet with Dr. Ambe.

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