OPINION

Health and Wellness: Focus on staying colon healthy

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among both men and women in Iowa, and the third most deadly cancer for both genders. (canceriowa.org)

Colonoscopies are the usual screening for colorectal cancer. There is reliable information about colonoscopy screenings on the American Cancer Society and the Mayo Clinic websites: cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/online-documents/en/pdf/infographics/7-things-to-know-about-getting-a-colonoscopy.pdf and mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/colon-cancer/in-depth/colon-cancer-screening/art-20046825.

It’s OK to feel uneasy about your colonoscopy, but have it done anyway, because allowing a small problem to continue undetected could cost your life. Some people are nervous about the procedure itself, the cost, embarrassed to talk about their anatomy, some people think the prep for the test is unpleasant and others dread a poor outcome and the treatments and “don’t want to know.” The excellent survival rate — 90% after five years — for colorectal cancer found in the earliest stage is the best testimony for a colon cancer screening.

Cancer screenings are important and occur only every few years. Your daily routine is just as important. Focus on staying healthy and reducing your risk of colorectal cancer. Limit alcohol and tobacco use and increase your activity. Get the recommended dose of calcium, vitamin D, and folate. Take care of yourself and enjoy the freedom of good health.