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Be Vigilant Against Cancer

Priti Lakhani - MHCM SM DPM
October 26, 2018

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and you don’t have to look far to find someone affected by it. Yet because of medical breakthroughs and increased awareness, the death toll attributed to the disease has decreased since 2000.

We need to continue to be vigilant against all cancer, all the time. The American Cancer Society says there will be an estimated 1,735,350 new cancer cases diagnosed this year. The organization also expects more than half a million people to die from cancer in 2018.

The third most common cancer for men and women is colon cancer. Many of the things you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer can also reduce your risk of colon cancer. Read on to learn more.

Know Your Risk.

The American Cancer Society notes there are several risk factors for colorectal cancer. Some of those factors you can change, including being overweight or obese, being physically inactive, and eating a diet high in red meats.  

Some you can’t change: your race, your age, and a family history of inflammatory bowel disease or colorectal cancer.

That doesn’t mean you should accept that you’ll get cancer. It means you need to be vigilant about cancer screenings.

Get Healthy.

If you’re looking to change your lifestyle to reduce your risk of breast, colon and other cancers, the Y can help.

There are lots of ways the Y can support you with being more physically active. You can schedule a Coaching Connection meeting to meet one-on-one with a Healthy Living Coach to discuss your physical activity and wellness goals and create a personalized wellness plan together. Contact your local Y to set an appointment.

Or consider trying a new class. Just three of our 50-minute group exercise classes a weeks will add up to the recommended 150 minutes a week. We’ve got something for everyone--Les Mills BODYPUMP, Water Fitness, Active Older Adults classes, Yoga, Zumba, and so much more. Find your Y’s schedule here.

Or ask about our nutrition programs. Our Ys offer a variety of nutrition seminars and classes to help you make healthy food choices.

Get Screened.

Colonoscopies are still the best way to check for colon cancer. Get one every 10 years beginning at age 45. A doctor will use a camera to see inside your intestines and remove any polyps found.

You can also ask your doctor about at-home tests that are an easy and less invasive way to safeguard yourself. You may be a good candidate if you don’t have an increased risk of colon cancer or symptoms of it. At-home tests involve using a kit to collect a stool sample and send it to a lab. Check with your insurance provider to see if this is covered under your plan.

Dr. Priti Lakhani, MHCM (SM), DPM, is a Medical Director for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City.