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Man talks to his doctor during an appointment

Office Visit: Don’t Put Off Your Colon Care

By Todd Hoffman, M.D.

Maintaining good colon health is always important and that’s true for younger adults as well.

The American Cancer Society recently reported for the first time colon and rectal cancers are the deadliest forms of cancer for men younger than age 50 and the second deadliest cancers for women in the same age range, despite cancer cases decreasing overall for those younger than 50.

March is colorectal cancer awareness month and — like many cancers — early detection of colorectal cancer is important. There are several ways you can decrease your risk for colon and rectal cancers.

  • High-fiber diet — Research has attributed higher colon cancer rates to trends in American diets. People who eat higher amounts of fiber, including fruits and vegetables, decrease their chances for colon cancer.
  • Consistent movement — Regular exercise benefits your heart, helps maintain weight and can help lower risk of colon cancer. About 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day five times per week is recommended.
  • Drink water — Proper hydration can help move toxins and excrement through your colon more quickly. 
  • Limit alcohol intake — If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Recommendations are no more than one drink for women and two drinks for men per day.
Dr. Todd Hoffman headshot

Todd Hoffman, M.D.

  • Quit smoking — If you smoke, consider quitting. Your primary care provider can offer tips or refer you to a program to help you quit.
  • Get screened — The U. S. Preventive Services Task Force's current guidelines suggest getting your first colonoscopy at age 45, if you are at average risk for colorectal cancer. It is important to talk with your health care provider about recommendations on your colon cancer screening options, especially if your family has a colon cancer history.

Colorectal cancer is nothing to ignore. It’s important to educate yourself and be proactive about your care. Your body and colon will thank you.   

Let’s make it a good month!

Todd Hoffman, M.D., C.P.E., is chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, a division of Health Care Service Corp., a Mutual Legal Reserve Company.

A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association