3 questions to ask your doc about your colon
Everyone has to deal with it, but no one wants to talk about it. People feel awkward and uncomfortable and generally may skip this conversation with their doctor whenever possible. Yes, we are talking about your colon.
“I’ll always answer any question my patients have, but sometimes they don’t know what to ask or they are uncomfortable bringing up the topic,” Dr. Albert says.
He suggests the following questions to start the conversation with your doctor.
- 1. Am I at risk for colon cancer?
Ten percent of colon cancer diagnoses are in patients under the age of 50, according to the Colon Cancer Alliance. Understanding your risk for colon cancer is the first step in preventing it, he says.“Family history, diet and physical activity play a huge role in determining your risk,” Dr. Albert says. “By understanding your risk for colon cancer, you can take steps to prevent cancer from even starting. It could protect you and your loved ones.” Other risk factors include smoking, obesity or previous digestive health issues such as ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease.
- What can I do to prevent colon cancer?
“Staying active and eating right are the best things you can do for your health in general,” Dr. Albert says. “But the single most important way to prevent colon cancer is by getting screened.”Dr. Albert also suggests limiting alcohol consumption and having enough fiber in your diet. The American Cancer Society recommends eating five or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day and choosing whole grains before processed or refined grains.
- Are there any other ways to get screened besides a colonoscopy?
“I know patients may want to avoid a colonoscopy because they think it’s uncomfortable. But it truly is the best screening method for colon cancer and it could save your life,” Dr. Albert says.“The potentially life-saving benefits of getting a colonoscopy far outweigh any minor discomfort,” he says.
If you are still worried about your colonoscopy, Dr. Albert breaks down what to expect at your colonoscopy, step by step in this video.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.