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Staying Healthy

Colon Cancer

Stethoscope

The third most common cancer in both men and women

The American Cancer Society recommends colorectal cancer, commonly referred to as colon cancer, testing for all adults beginning at age 50. Earlier testing is recommended for:

  • People with a family history of colon cancer
  • People with a personal history of colon polyps, chronic inflammatory bowel disease or colon cancer

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women but these cancers can almost always be cured if they are detected early. Tests can detect colon polyps before they become cancerous, as well as cancers in their early stage. Getting tested for colon cancer is the most important action you can take to prevent colon cancer. Contact your health care provider and schedule an appointment today.

Most colon cancers occur in men and women who are 50 or older.

So if you are in that age group, you can be at risk or have the disease and not even know it - even if you have no family history of colon cancer. You need to be tested. If your parent, sibling or child has had colon cancer, testing is even more important for you.

Ask your provider

As you get older, you have more health concerns and your provider has more to discuss with you. If your provider does not mention getting tested for colon cancer, you should ask about it.

Get tested

Testing identifies problems and finds growths before they become cancer. If a pre-cancerous growth is found, you can stop colon cancer before it starts. And if colon cancer is found early, you have a good chance of beating it with treatment. Most people should begin testing at age 50, although people with certain risk factors should be tested earlier or more often. You and your provider should discuss the various options and choose the test that's best for you.

The American Cancer Society recommends the following tests beginning at age 50:

  • Yearly fecal occult blood test (FOBT)* or fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
  • Yearly FOBT* or FIT plus flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
  • Double-contrast barium enema every five years
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years

Reduce your risk

You owe it to yourself and the people who love you to take care of yourself.

  • Become more physically active. The American Cancer Society recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days a week.
  • Maintain an appropriate body weight.
  • Choose most of your foods from plant sources. Each day, eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables and several servings of foods from other plant sources such as breads, cereals, grain products, rice, pasta or beans.
  • Limit your consumption of high-fat foods and alcohol.
  • Get tested.

For FOBT, the take-home multiple sample method should be used.
* The combination of yearly FOBT or FIT plus flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years is preferred over either of these options alone.

You Can Prevent Cancer

  • Know Your Risk
  • Get Screened
  • Eat Right
  • Be Active

Check your benefit plan for preventive care coverage and contact your health care provider to arrange for a colon test today.
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