Given my love of fiber, and how adequate consumption has been linked to reducing the rates of colon cancer, I’d be remiss if I didn’t make mention of this special month of observance, National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Particularly since this second leading cause of cancer death has personally impacted my family. Fortunately, there is a happy ending to this story, so you can put away the tissues.
My beloved father-in-law, Darren’s pops, and Mila’s Pépère, was diagnosed, treated, and has been in remission for close to 15 years. What a scare it was and we are so grateful for everyday that he’s colon cancer-free.
So what can you do to protect yourself (and you loved ones)? Besides eating lots of fiber, first, and foremost – find out your family risk. The Colon Cancer Alliance is a fantastic resource, and has launched this year’s theme, Family PLZ, which focuses on the importance of learning your family history, sharing this information with your doctor and loved ones, and getting the younger generations to start conversations about health and screening. Definitely check it out.
Second, get screened. If you have a family history, the recommended age to start screening in the form of colonoscopy is 40. If you do not, screening starts at 50. Darren can bet his bottom dollar (pun intended), that he’ll be paying the Assman a visit once he hits that magic age. And for the record, these procedures are really not that bad. No, I haven’t had one, but am a registered nurse, worked in a day surgery center in my past life, and if I had a nickel for every patient that (post-procedure) said “that wasn’t so bad”, I’d be writing this from my beach house in Maui. If Katie Couric can do it on live television, you can too.
Third, prevention is the best medicine. The Mayo Clinic suggests:
- Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants may play a role in cancer prevention.
- Drink alcohol in moderation (if at all) – one/day for women and two/day for men. Max.
- Don’t smoke.
- Get regular exercise. This means at least 30 minutes everyday (or close to it). Something as easy as a brisk 30 minute walk counts. So do burpees.
- Maintain (or achieve) a healthy weight.I can help you with this (**shameless plug alert**).
See, that wasn’t so bad now was it? And now for a little Assman entertainment, Seinfeld style…
What’s your favorite Seinfeld episode?
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