Local doctor weighs in on colon cancer screenings & prevention
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - March is colorectal cancer awareness month.
According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 107,000 new cases of colon cancer in the United States so far this year. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.
“It’s something that can run in families. But we also know that it doesn’t just run in families,” said Dr. Sara Robinson, Co-chief resident at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato.
The rate of diagnoses in colon or rectal cancer for adults has been dropping by 1% each year due to an overall increase in cancer screenings and lifestyle changes. But, in people younger than 50, rates have increased by 1-2% since the 90s and the trend keeps rising.
But doctors say early screenings, like a colonoscopy or cologuard test, can find those pre-cancerous signs:
“Such as polyps in the colon- and have them removed before they can actually turn into a cancer so that just all speaks to the power of going and getting your regular doctor visits and doing these recommended preventive screening exams so that it can stop it from turning into a cancer eventually,” said Dr. Robinson.
Doctors recommend everyone to start screening at 45 years old. If colon cancer runs in the family, doctors recommend even earlier screenings.
“If you have first degree family member such as a sibling or a parent who has colon cancer, you should start your screenings at least 10 years before they were diagnosed.”
And although there’s no way to prevent cancer, there are ways to lower risk, such as maintaining a balanced diet and exercising:
“I think it’s the best thing is just finding something that brings you Joy and something where it doesn’t feel like it’s a chore every day. Getting out there and doing that regular exercise also just brings so many health benefits, including preventing colon cancer,” added Dr. Robinson.
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