4 Ways to Reduce Your Colon Cancer Risk
March is Colon Cancer Awareness month, a perfect time to take steps to help lower your risk of developing colon cancer. In New York City, colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer, killing approximately 1,400 New Yorkers each year. There are things you can do that may lower your colon cancer risk. Here are a few tips to help protect your colon health.
- If you are 50 or old or have a family history of colon cancer, have a colonoscopy:
A colonoscopy detects more than 95% of early colon cancer and is the only test that can also prevent cancer. This is because the doctor can remove polyps – small growths that may develop into cancer if left alone – before they turn into cancer. A colonoscopy takes about 30 minutes. NYC Health + Hospitals health care system hospitals offer affordable colonoscopies and other colon cancer screening tests including the flexible sigmoidoscopy and fecal occult blood test (FOBT). Speak to one of our physicians to find out which screening method is right for you.
- If you are a smoker, take steps to quit smoking:
If you are a smoker, quitting is the most important thing you can do for your health and the health of your family members. Not only are there tremendous health benefits to quit smoking but there are also significant cost benefits. Smoking a pack a day in NYC can cost more than $4,000 a year. If you want to quit smoking, we can help with our smoking cessation services. For more information about NYC Health + Hospitals QuitSmoking Clinics, call the NYC Health + Hospitals QuitSmoking Clinic nearest you.
- Maintain a healthy weight and eat nut
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Eat whole grains such as brown rice, whole-wheat bread and whole-grain pasta)
- Choose fish, poultry, lean meats, beans, eggs, nuts, and low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products
- Drink very low-calorie beverages, like water and unsweetened tea
- Use healthy fats, such as canola and olive oils
- Watch your portion size (fill half your plate with vegetables)
- Exercise regularly
Exercise is good for your body, mind and soul. It can help you lose weight, reduce stress and fight chronic disease. Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week, can work wonders. Shape Up NYC offers FREE fitness classes every week at dozens of locations in all five boroughs. Class offerings are varied and include aerobics, yoga, Pilates, zumba and much more. Find a FREE exercise class that’s right for you by visiting Shape Up NYC.
- All of NYC Health + Hospitals’ acute care hospitals offer affordable colon cancer screenings. Find an NYC Health + Hospitals health care system health center near you.