TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) — Healthcare professionals have set aside the month of March to help spread information and awareness about colon cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths among men and women each year.
In the third and final installment of his series, WCBI’s Allie Martin looks at a key factor in fighting colon cancer and also has more on a promising new test for the disease.
When he was diagnosed with colon cancer three years ago, Dr Sam Pace began to revamp his diet and eating habits and he encourages others to keep close tabs on what they put into their bodies.
“If you are under 50 and you want to do everything you can to prevent colon cancer, eat a high fiber, well balanced diet that has a minimal amount of red meat.”
As a clinical dietician with the North Mississippi Medical Center, Nancy Anderson says there are basic nutritional guidelines people can follow if they want to enjoy a healthy life.
“Look at what you are putting in your body, the types of foods that you are eating, if everything you’re eating is white or brown, then you are leaving out a lot of nutrients.”
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietics, a healthy diet, high in cancer fighting anti oxidants, will include lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, such as oatmeal, wheat bread, wheat pasta and brown rice.
And when it comes to screening for colon cancer, colonoscopies are encouraged for people over 50, but there is also a new , experimental test that could be another tool to prevent the second leading cancer killer in the nation.
That new test is non invasive and it screens for cancer by looking for abnormal DNA and minute traces of blood in stool. The test found 92 percent of all cancers, which is similar to the detection rates of colonoscopies.
Dr. Pace, who recently retired, says the new DNA test is promising. However, he encourages everyone to be proactive when it comes to colon cancer.
“The fight against cancer is not a passive fight. Your doctor can give you medication but you have to be willing to fight yourself, so get up, get active and eat the appropriate diet,” said Pace.
And remember to pick up your free self test kit at Fred’s Pharmacies. The kit includes easy to follow instructions and if you have any questions, or concerns, contact your physician.