Many of us don’t bring up colon cancer at the dinner table, which is understandable. In fact, most of us don’t bring up colon cancer at all. Discussing that part of the body tends to be embarrassing. “There certainly is a stigma associated with colon cancer,” says David Dietz, MD, a staff surgeon in the department for colorectal surgery at the Digestive Disease Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. But we have to start talking about it for two reasons: 1) It’s preventable, and 2) it’s treatable.
Fortunately, the death rate from colon cancer has actually been going down for the past 15 years, according to the American Cancer Society, thanks to better screening tools. Colon cancer is quite slow growing, and it can typically be detected before it does too much damage. Most colon cancers begin as a polyp, or a growth of tissue. Finding these polyps early — and removing them — can keep them from developing into cancer.
Eating right, exercising and being in a healthy state of mind can help minimize your risk of colon cancer. If it does strike, choosing the right foods, keeping active and focusing on the positive can help you recover and reduce your risk of recurrence.