Before you skip over this blog post because you think colon cancer only happens to older people, here us out. A new JAMA Surgery study found that while overall rates of colorectal cancer have been dropping by about one percent a year since the mid-80s, they’ve actually increased among people ages 20-34. Even worse, it’s more likely to have spread by the time it’s diagnosed.
Colorectal Cancer Month:
March Is “Keep Your Tushy Healthy” Month
It’s not fun to talk about, but colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States (among cancers that affect both men and women). Fortunately, it’s largely preventable, both through healthy lifestyle factors and regular screening starting at age 50. We’ve combed through the research and have managed to find a few fun – that’s right, FUN – steps you can take to help lower your odds:
Celebrate Meatless Monday
Oprah, Padma Lakshmi, Jessica Simpson, Russell Simmons, Kate Moss and other celebs have embraced the phenomenon – why not you? Going vegetarian one day a week is way less intimidating that quitting meat altogether, but will still help lower your risk (diets high in red and processed meats can hike colorectal cancer risk). Try these Chimichurri Quinoa Stuffed Artichokes or these Smoky Chipotle Black Bean & Roasted Sweet Potato Tacos. Even better, peruse our Recipe archive – we’ve got loads of healthy, meat-free meals that are delicious and easy to make.
Finally Give SoulCycle a Spin
Need an excuse to try this workout with a cult following? Study after study has found that adults who exercise intensely or frequently can slash their colon cancer risk by 30-40 percent compared to their sedentary counterparts. Lace up and spin/run/walk on.
Take the Day Off from Work
Have a report you simply don’t want to write? What about a presentation you’ve been dreading? Now is the perfect time to schedule your colonoscopy! No, seriously – you’ll get the day off from work and you’ll even be able to enjoy a doctor-prescribed nap (you’ll be sedated while screened). According to a brand new study in the journal Cancer, if our country could convince 80 percent of qualified individuals to be screened for colorectal cancer by 2018, we would prevent an additional 21,000 colorectal cancer deaths/year by 2030.
Take a Vacation – Somewhere Sunny
According to a January 2015 study out of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, chemotherapy patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who had high blood levels of vitamin D survived longer, on average, than patients with lower levels. Vitamin D is tricky to get from your diet, and sunblock can prevent absorption from the sun, so here’s an excuse to spend a few minutes outside with just your bare skin drinking in the Sunny D. Then slather on the sunblock, order a poolside fruit plate, take a break to swim in the ocean, and have a snooze in your cabana. You – and your colon – have earned it.