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Colon and Breast Cancer Prevention Through Lifestyle Changes

Posted Jan 18 2012 6:57am

While some causes of breast and colon cancer are unpreventable (like age, family history, and inherited risk), others are completely within your control. Help prevent the formation of these dangerous diseases with some important lifestyle changes.

1. Know your family history

Cancer Prevention - Know Family History

If your family has a history of either breast cancer or colon cancer, your changes may be higher than the average woman. Knowing your family history is therefore very helpful when talking to your doctor about tests and screenings. Poll your family members to find out if any relatives have suffered from either breast or colon cancer and be sure to alert your doctor if you find any incidence of these diseases in your family tree.

A family history may warrant earlier and more regular screenings to catch disease formation early.

2. Get screened regularly

Regular Breast Cancer Screenings

One of the best ways for breast cancer prevention is to catch it before it starts, and that means regular breast cancer screenings. There are three tests generally used for this purpose. Every woman should be doing her own self-exams of her breasts every single month. Talk to your doctor about how to conduct a self-exam. Additionally, women should see their doctors every year for an annual physical, which should include a clinical breast exam.

The mammogram is an x-ray of the breast and should be performed every two years if you are between the ages of 50 and 74. Some women should be screened before the age of 50 if family history or other risk factors are present.

3. Have regular polyp removal

Colon Cancer Prevention - Polyp Removal

If you have a family history of colon cancer, or have had tests (such as colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy) to determine that you have colorectal polyps, you should ensure that you have regular appointments with your doctor to have the polyps removed. These adenomas have been shown to develop into colon cancer, and removing those that are larger than 1 cm has been show to lower the risk of colorectal cancer significantly.

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