As the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. for men and women combined, individuals have a 1 in 20 chance of developing colon cancer in their lifetime. Since 90 percent of new diagnoses are made in people over age 50, it is vital for seniors to pay close attention to colon and whole-body health to either pinpoint the disease in its earliest stages or to avoid diagnosis altogether. Here are four strategies designed to help aging adults prevent colon cancer.
1. Reduce Alcohol Consumption and Quit Smoking
When it comes to colon cancer, the less alcohol you drink the better. Heavy amounts of alcohol consumed on a regular basis has been linked to an increased risk of developing colon cancer. Men should only consume two alcoholic drinks per day while women should limit themselves to one. In addition, a tobacco habit can also increase the chances of disease diagnosis. Talk to your physician today about how to healthily quit smoking at your age.
2. Exercise for Health and Weight Loss Benefit
People with a healthy weight are less likely to develop colon cancer. Likewise, people with an active lifestyle are also low risk. It is important to exercise in order to lose weight if needed, to maintain correct body fat percentages and to experience the many additional physical benefits of physical activity: increased blood flow, better nightly sleep patterns and more. Start slow, but begin implementing a thought-out exercise plan today.
3. Make Dietary Changes for Whole-Body Wellness
What you eat matters if you want to avoid colon cancer development. According to one study, adults aged 50 to 71 who ate at least 5 ounces of red meat per day had a 24 percent higher risk of colon cancer. In addition, processed meats with the preservative sodium nitrate can produce carcinogenic compounds. Cut back on the red meat and processed food in your diet, instead supplementing with leafy green vegetables, fresh fruit and fiber-rich snacks like nuts and oatmeal.
4. Get Screened for Colon Cancer Regularly
If you have Medicare coverage, regular preventative colonoscopies are included in your health care plan. When colon cancer is discovered at the beginning local stage, over 90 percent of those diagnosed live to the five year milestone following colon cancer treatment. Early detection makes a marked difference – once the disease has spread to distant organs, colon cancer treatment is much less effective as only 13 percent of those diagnosed live five years post-diagnosis.
Use these four helpful tactics to resist the onset of colon cancer to the best of your ability. If you have questions about Medicare coverage or areas where your current healthcare plan may be lacking in terms of colon cancer treatment or early detection tests, contact My Senior Health Plan today to receive professional, helpful guidance.