Get Well Wednesday: Your Colon And How To Keep It Healthy

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Whether you are in your 20s, 30s, 50s or 80s – if you have a colon, you are at risk of developing colorectal cancer. Be your own health advocate and listen to your body – notice if there’s a change in your bowel movement habits, blood in your stool, persistent stomach ache, extreme fatigue, unexplained weight loss. If a symptom doesn’t get better, follow-up with your doctor about it.

If you don’t have any symptoms and feel great, you still need to get screened for colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer screening should begin at 45 years old in African-Americans, or earlier if you have a family history of colorectal cancer. Talk to your doctor about when you should start getting screened and how often you should get tested.

Determine your risk factor with a free online risk assessment that you can find at clevelandclinic.org/preventcoloncancer.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help prevent colon cancer. Research has shown that what you eat can play a role in your risk for developing colorectal cancer. Reducing consumption of over-processed foods, eating fresh fruits and vegetables and eating foods that contain high amounts of fiber can help keep the colon healthy. A Mediterranean-style diet with fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, whole grains, beans, and nuts is a good choice.  

Dr. Williams answers your questions below:

Does a stool sample allow you to not get a colonoscopy?

A STOOL SAMPLE ALLOWS THE DETECTION OF BLOOD IN THE STOOL. IF IT IS POSITIVE FOR BLOOD A COLONOSCOPY IS NEEDED.  IT DOES NOT TAKE THE PLACE OF A COLONOSCOPY

I was told by a hair stylist that taking the fish oil/omega 3 pills from GNC is good for hair growth. Are these bad for you?

THEY ARE GOOD FOR HAIR GROWTH, MEMORY, DECREASING HEART DISEASE, BREAST CANCER, COLON CANCER, DIABETES

What causes rectal cancer, and what are the signs?

RECTAL CANCER IS CAUSED BY A GROWTH THAT BEGINS IN THE RECTUM. IS IS SIMILAR TO COLON CANCER.  THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT IT DEVELOPS IN THE RECTUM.  A DIFFERENT PART OF YOUR INTESTINES. THE LAST PART.

Is there a less invasive test than a colonoscopy?

THERE ARE LESS INVASIVE TESTs, BUT IF POSITIVE, A COLONOSCOPY WILL BE NEEDED. THESE TESTS INCLUDE TESTS FOR BLOOD IN THE STOOL AS WELL AS “DNA” ASSOCIATED WITH POLYPS OR CANCER.

Can taking Garcinia Cambogia and apple cider vinegar really work for weight loss?

HESE HAVE VERY LITTLE EFFECT ON WEIGHT LOSS.  A BETTER ALTERNATIVE IS TO EAT A BETTER DIET WITH REGULAR EXERCISE. 

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