Colorectal (colon) cancer is the third most common cancer among adults in the United States.
It is also the second leading cause of cancer related death. If current trends continue, one in twenty Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer during their lifetime!
So how does this affect us in Valley City? According to the North Dakota Cancer Coalition, the rate of colon cancer statewide is 58.5 per 100,000 people. In Barnes County, the rate of colon cancer is 78.6 per 100,000 people. This rate is higher than that of both the state and the nation!
It is estimated that 25 percent to 35 percent of colon cancer risk could be avoided through modifying diet and life-style habits. Specifically, studies show a direct relationship between inactivity and risk for developing colon cancer.
Each year it seems that as a society we become more and more inactive.
We are spending more time sitting and less time moving.
We now live and work in settings that have been modified to limit movement and muscular activity.
However, we have the ability to control the amount of activity we participate in each day.
Exercise plays an important role in the prevention and causation of colorectal cancer.
Participating in moderate to vigorous activity five times per week can decrease your risk of colon cancer. The latest report finds that all types of moderate physical activity reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Find a way to fit activity into your day whether it is housecleaning, doing chair exercises or running.
Build up your activity until you are able to meet the public heath recommendations for adults of 150 minutes of physical activity per week.
This would be equivalent to 30 minutes five days of the week.
Research has found that diet is one of the strongest lifestyle factors for any type of cancer.
In terms of colon cancer, increasing total dietary fiber has been linked to a 29 percent decrease in risk. It is thought that fiber may reduce risk by increasing the speed of digestion and limiting contact carcinogens have with the colon.
It is recommended that women eat 25 grams and men eat 38 grams of fiber per day.
One slice of whole wheat bread has about 2 grams of fiber; a cup of oatmeal has 4 grams. One cup of fruit or vegetables has about 2 to 5 grams of fiber.
How to include more fiber in your diet:
* For breakfast, choose a high-fiber breakfast cereal — 5 or more grams of fiber a serving.
* Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
* Use whole grains; look for brands with at least 2 grams of dietary fiber per serving.
* Eat more beans, peas and lentils.
* Eat fruit at every meal. Apples, bananas, oranges, and berries are good sources of fiber.
Caitlin Prunty is a UND Dietetic Student working with Sharon Buhr, LRD at Young People’s Healthy Heart Program at Mercy Hospital in Valley City.
Your Health is coordinated by Mercy Hospital.