WAYNESBORO, Pa. – There’s no sure-fire way to prevent colon cancer. Still, certain steps taken, such as maintaining a healthy weight and eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, can cut a person’s risk by nearly half, according to research from the American Cancer Society.
“There are certain things completely out of your control – age, family history,” explained Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner MaryStuart Seifarth of Summit Gastroenterology. “However, there are modifiable factors such as diet and lifestyle that are within your control.”
Seifarth said factors within your control include how much you exercise, red meat consumption, your weight and how much alcohol you drink.
“A healthy lifestyle starts with good nutrition and fueling your body properly. The more whole grains and fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables you eat, the better chance you have of decreasing your risk of not just colon cancer, but other cancers and chronic diseases, too.”
You can help decrease risk of colon cancer several ways:
- Eat a diet rich in fiber from whole grains, fruits and vegetables
- Limit alcohol consumption to one drink per night or less
- Decrease how much you eat red meat
- Limit intake of fatty and processed foods
In addition to getting screened regularly with a colonoscopy, it is important to know the signs of the disease. Symptoms include:
- Changes in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, narrowing of stool) that lasts more than a few days
- Feeling the urge to have a bowel movement that is not relieved after going to the bathroom
- Blood in the stool, which may make it appear dark
- Cramping or abdominal pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unintended weight loss
Summit Gastroenterology, now part of WellSpan Health, is located at 501 E. Main St., past the emergency entrance of Waynesboro Hospital. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 717-765-3648 or click here.
Summit Health is a non-profit network of hospitals and physician practices dedicated to building a healthier community.
As Franklin County's leading healthcare provider, Summit Health offers family care, specialists, lab and imaging services, a fitness center, two walk-in care centers, and two award-winning hospitals.