Mississippi, the home state of Gi Associates, has many wonderful qualities. Our state is full of good people, great food, and plenty of recreational activities. Unfortunately, it also has one of the highest incidence of colon cancer.
Why? Well, there are a variety of probable causes - diet, exercise and ethnicity.
We love our fried food! It may be delicious but it is decidedly unhealthy. Even our favorite vegetables are cooked with pork fat. One of the risk factors for developing colorectal cancers is a diet heavy in red meat, low in fiber, and low in fresh fruit and vegetables.
To reduce your risk,
- Add fresh fruit and vegetables to your daily diet.
- Try to eat grilled fish or other seafood at least once per week and limit red meats to just once per week as well.
- When grilling food, try to avoid heavily charring your meats.
Diet alone does not account for the high cancer and obesity rates in our great state. We need to increase the amount of exercise we get daily. There was a study, published over a year ago, that said even going to gym to work out was not as beneficial, for reducing colon cancer risk, than standing. We need to think about regular activity, throughout the day.
This is the easiest to fix:
- Put on your sneakers and take walk. Get moving and keep moving!
- If your job requires you to sit for long periods of time, try standing when making phone calls.
While the reasons are still unclear, African-Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancers at a higher rate than other groups. They also tend to die more frequently. Some studies show that African-Americans develop more aggressive types of colon cancer. Is this genetic? Is it diet related? Is it access to health education? While it is probably a combination of all those factor, the truth remains that African-Americans should be screened earlier, 45 rather than 50. We can not stress enough that in order to turn the tide, we need to take the embarrassment out of the topic. Read more here.
Fight the statistics:
- Speak up and spread the word. Talking about your colon may be awkward - but is it worth dying over? Of course not!
- Talk to friends and family about their risk
- Encourage them to make an appointment to be screened. Prevention is always easier and preferable to treatment. During a colonoscopy doctors look for, and remove, polyps. Finding the polyps before they become cancerous is the most effective form of cancer prevention.
Gi Associates is an open access clinic, meaning you do not need to have a primary care physician refer you in order to be seen. Are you ready to take the next step? Request an appointment here.