You’re never too young to get a screening for colon cancer. That’s the message this month as colon cancer awareness kicks off.
The uncomfortable truth is that although it’s really rare, people in their 30s (and sometimes even younger!) can get colon cancer. Because colon cancer doesn’t always start with obvious symptoms, and because many doctors tend to dismiss younger patients with serious health concerns, a screening is the best way to stay safe!
Of course, no one is lining up around the block to get a colon cancer screening. It’s unpleasant! But here’s the upside—anything that looks funny will get sampled and tested right there, unlike other cancer screening where there may be multiple steps (an image, then a biopsy, then results—that’s a lot of waiting!). And if you get a clean bill of health, you’re good to go for 10 years!
Who should get an early colon cancer screening? Ideally, everyone. Realistically, people with a history of poor eating (a traditional American diet—lots of processed foods with few fruits and veggies), a family history of colon cancer, or other health concerns that could trigger colon cancer (for instance, read medication labels carefully).
Everyone else should start no later than 50! (Colon cancer screenings are subsidized, call your local health department to see if you’re eligible for a free screening).
Early signs of colon cancer include abdominal pain, bleeding, or a sudden change in bowel habits.
You can do more! A healthy colon starts with good eating habits. Fruits and vegetables not only contribute fiber to your diet, but cancer fighting antioxidants! Drinking lots of water is important for your digestion too, and will help with healthy bowel movements.
Many people also feel like their bowel movements/health are improved with an occasional colon cleanse. They can be especially useful to help with a big dietary change, or if you just had a bout of “bad” habits.
Share your thoughts with us in the comments!