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Taking Care of Yourself: Colorectal Risks

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Americans do not take care of their health. This is not news. We all know that the country has a problem with its diet, its lack of exercise, and the resulting issues from obesity that come along with these issues. As the population ages, as diets get worse and more exercise regiments are skipped, as more people sit for a living and relax by sitting at home, these issues are only going to get worse.

I want to help people do something about their health. This is important to me for multiple reasons. First, I just want to see people healthier. Second, I worry about the strain on our already strained healthcare system. Third, I think keeping us healthy will help improve other issues in the country. It’ll improve the economy with healthier workers and the overall positive outlook of the country as we look at longer lives with fewer health problems.

All that said, I want to start writing about major health issues people don’t think about, and the first topic I want to write about is the risk of colorectal cancer. You might be under the impression that such cancer is rare because you never hear about it. It doesn’t get the press that breast or lung cancer gets. You’ll be surprised, then, to learn that it’s the third most lethal cancer for men and the fourth most lethal cancer for women, and it’s becoming a bigger threat every year. It’s affecting younger and younger individuals.

What can we do about it? Well, there are the obvious things: improvements in diet and exercise, less sitting, etc. Beyond that, though, we can get tested regularly. The best way to fight this cancer is by catching it early.

GastroCare Li has laid out very nicely all the colorectal screenings you should be getting from the age of 45 onward. They include:

  • A colonoscopy once every decade
  • A virtual colonoscopy once every 5 years
  • A flexible sigmoidoscopy once every 5 years
  • A multitarget stool DNA test once every 3 years
  • A fecal immunochemical text and high-sensitivity guaiac fecal occult blood test once a year each

Seeing such a huge list of tests can seem daunting, but when your health and even your life are really on the line, you don’t want to put off even the most inconvenient tests.

Besides, as GastroCare Li points out, not all of these tests are particularly invasive. Some can be taken at home and are very cheap.

As a culture, we need to adapt and become more health conscious. It’s simply not realistic for the whole culture to go on eating badly, avoiding working out, sitting most of the day, and still remaining healthy into old age. We need to do more for ourselves, for our families, and for our society as a whole.

We can start by getting the tests we should get so we know what our health looks like. Then, we can build up to bigger lifestyle changes.