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Digestive Health Blog

2022 Colon Cancer Awareness Month

2022 Colon Cancer Awareness Month

“As March is Colon Cancer Awareness month, it is a great time to discuss the importance and success of colon cancer screening. Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths, but screening with colonoscopy decreases this risk by over 65%. Anyone over age 45 should schedule their screening colonoscopy and encourage their friends and family to do the same.”
– Matthew Eidem, MD

6 Ways to Reduce Risk of Colon Cancer

1) Get a Colonoscopy at age 45

Colonoscopy is considered the gold standard exam to screen for and identify colon cancer & polyps (abnormal growths in the colon which can advance into cancers over time). The reason is that it is the only screening method that allows for the identification and removal of precancerous polyps in the same setting. Other screening exams can evaluate for the presence of large polyps, but they do not allow for the removal of polyps.

2) Get Moving

Physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Studies suggest that more intense activity is needed to reduce colon cancer risk and that somewhere between 3.5 and 4 hours of vigorous exercise per week may be needed to optimize protection.

3) Rethink Your Proteins

Several studies have confirmed that diet plays a role in many colorectal cancers. Specifically, the amount of red meat, processed meats, sugar, and fried foods have been found to increase your risk of colon cancer. Conversely, eating more fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce colon cancer risk. Try and up your intake of produce!

4) Limit Alcohol Consumption

Studies show that alcohol increases your risk of developing polyps. The healthiest option is not to drink at all. But if you do, the American Cancer Society recommends no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.

5) Stop Smoking

Smoking cigarettes is known to increase lung cancer risk. However, most people don’t realize that those who smoke for a long time are more likely than people who don’t smoke to develop and die from colon or rectal cancer.

6) Know Your Risks

Some people have an increased risk of developing colon cancer because of factors they can’t change, like a family history of colon cancer. Risk factors you can’t change include:

  • Racial & ethnic backgrounds
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Personal or family history of adenomatous polyps or colorectal cancer
  • Personal or family history inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Being aware of the above risk factors and if they apply to you can help you proactively lower your risk of colon cancer. Discussing these risks with your doctor will result in scheduling a screening at the appropriate age and making changes to your diet & lifestyle.

colon cancer screening begins at age 45

Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines for 2022

The American Cancer Society’s current guidelines for a screening colonoscopy are:

  • Average-risk individuals should have their first colon cancer screening at age 45.
  • Individuals that have a family history of colon cancer or polyps will often have their first colonoscopy before age 45. Those in this category should discuss when to begin screening for colon cancer with their primary care doctor or gastroenterologist.

Colon Cancer Awareness Events – DFW 2022

Whether you have a personal connection to colon cancer or want to help raise awareness, the DFW area has some great events that you can participate in. I’ve provided basic information on each event below, along with a link to the event website.

National Dress Blue Day

  • Date: Friday, March 4, 2022
  • Event Info: click here
  • Great opportunity to increase awareness at the office or with friends & family!

Evan White’s Brews & Blue – Bar Crawl for Colon Cancer Awareness

  • Date: Saturday, March 5, 2022
  • Location: Henderson Avenue (Dallas, TX)
  • Event Info: click here

*This is an adult event in Dallas that has raised over $50k since 2019 for colorectal cancer research

Get Your Rear in Gear

  • Date: Sunday, March 20, 2022
  • Location: Trinity Park (Fort Worth, TX)
  • Event Info: click here

Colorectal Cancer 5k Walk-A-Thon

  • Date: Saturday, November 5, 2022
  • Location: River Legacy Park (Arlington, TX)
  • Event Info: click here
Matthew Eidem, MD
Matthew Eidem, MD
Gastroenterologist at Matthew Eidem, MD
Matthew Eidem, MD is a gastroenterologist in Plano, TX practicing since 2007. He is a member of the Digestive Health Associates of Texas (DHAT) medical group and serves on the executive committee for DHAT. He has a special focus on colon cancer awareness along with IBS symptoms and treatment options. Dr. Eidem received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2000 and completed his Fellowship in Gastroenterology & Hepatology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in 2007. Distinguished honors include Best Doctor in Dallas award, Patient's Choice Award, Chief Resident and Intern of the Year at UT Health Science Center. His gastroenterology clinic is located at 3242 Preston Road, Suite 200, Plano, TX 75093.