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March is Colon and Uterine Cancer Awareness Month at PAH

Did you know that approximately 90 percent of colorectal cancers are thought to be preventable? Or that uterine (endometrial) cancer is the most common cancer of a woman’s reproductive system?

  JKCC-table

Shown here staffing the Colon and Uterine Cancer Awareness Month table are Q from PHGI, Laura Hamel from Gyn/Onc, Marylou Osterman and Beth Souders from the JKCC.

On Tuesday and Thursday of this week, the Joan Karnell Cancer Center held a Colon and Uterine Cancer Awareness presentation in the Elm Garden Cafeteria. Employees and visitors were able to learn more about colon and uterine cancer prevention and discuss issues with health care professionals such as: risk factors for colon and uterine cancer: signs and symptoms; colon cancer screening – facts and myths; nutrition – foods to eat that reduce your risk for colon and uterine cancer; genetics – how your family history affects your risk for colon and/or uterine cancer; and prevention – what steps you can take today to reduce your risk.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer for men and women in the United States. In the majority of cases, colorectal cancer develops from abnormal growths in the colon or rectum called polyps. The good news is that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60 percent of colorectal cancers are preventable by removing polyps before they become cancerous. 

The first lines of defense against colon cancer are:

  • Scheduling regular colorectal cancer screenings with colonoscopy, starting at age 50.
  • Talking with your doctor about a cancer risk evaluation and getting earlier or more frequent colonoscopies if you have a family history of colon cancer.

While some risk factors for colon cancer such as genetic predisposition cannot be controlled, research has shown diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight can help prevent some cancers.

The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) estimates that 45 percent of the colorectal cancers diagnosed each year in the United States are preventable. Based on extensive research, the AICR suggests that following these recommendations will reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.

Tips to Lower Your Risk of Colon Cancer

  • Be as lean as possible, without being underweight. Researchers have found evidence that excess fat, especially, around the waistline, increases your risk for colon cancer as well as heart disease and diabetes.
  • Eat a balanced, nutritious diet. The AICR recommends filling at least two thirds of your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. These foods are packed with cancer-fighting properties, water and fiber, which keep you fuller longer.

  • Limit your intake of red meat and avoid processed meats. A diet high in red meat (beef, lamb and pork) or processed meats (any meat that is preserved by salting, curing or smoking such as hot dogs, sausage or bacon) has been shown to increase the risk for developing colon cancer. Scientists suspect that the preservatives used in processed meats and the high amount of saturated fat found in red meats are the contributing factors. The AICR recommends limiting the intake of red meat to no more than 18 ounces (cooked weight) per week.
    • Deck of cards = 3 oz of meat
    • A matchbox = 1 oz of meat
  • Get moving. Exercising for 30 minutes a day in any way for five days each week helps you to maintain a healthy body weight. There is also evidence that regular physical activity reduces colorectal cancer risk.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake. There is convincing evidence that alcohol consumption is a cause of colorectal cancer in men and a probable cause in women. The AICR recommends limiting alcoholic drinks to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
    One drink = 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1oz of liquor.

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