Doctors recommend you start getting regular colonoscopies beginning at age 50 to help detect colon cancer. This is an easy medical benchmark to determine if you are one of the thousands of people each year who are affected by colon cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates over 135,000 new cases of colon cancer, with over 50,000 deaths from the disease, in 2017. Although there are no failsafe ways to avoid getting colon cancer, it’s important to get to the heart of the matter and understand what your major risk factors are.
What’s The Link?
Although your heart isn’t directly related to your colon, researchers have found an interesting and direct link to the health of your heart and your risk for colon cancer. A University of Hong Kong study has shown that, in a sample of patients, colon cancer was discovered in about 4% of patients with heart disease, in contrast to the 1% of patients not affected by heart disease. Also shown in the study were more suspicious polyps detected in heart disease patients than those without the disease.
What Can I Do?
Even though several risks of both heart disease and colon cancer are genetic and completely out of our control, it’s time we own up to the risk factors that are within our control and do as much as we can to lower those risks. Unhealthy lifestyles are the easiest factors to address, and there are a lot of resources out there to help in that change. The American Heart Association has a Healthy For Good initiative geared toward helping people change their lives while giving tips, encouragement, and a good framework of how to get started, including recipes, workout routines, and motivational activities to help with the mind. If you’re not sure where to start, it is a good conversation to have with your doctor as well. In addition to these changes in lifestyle and routine, it is also important to discuss other risk factors with your doctor so they can help you keep tabs on your journey to a healthier you.
Dr. Sameer Islam is here to get you on the road toward health! If being overweight is a risk factor for you, you may be eligible for his ReShape procedure. And if you are age 50 or over, make sure to schedule your screening colonoscopy today!