*The death of Ahmad Givens, AKA “Real” on VH1’s “I love New York,” is a tragedy, that I hope will be a lifesaving lesson for the rest of us.
March is Colon Cancer awareness month, so in memory of Ahmad, let us become more aware of our own colon cancer risk.
How prevalent is colon cancer?
1. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States when women and men are considered together.
2. It is expected to cause 49,700 deaths in 2015.
3. Our overall lifetime risk for colon cancer is 5 percent, meaning 1 in 20 of us will have colon cancer.
What increases our risk?
According to the American Cancer Society, “the links between diet, weight, exercise and colorectal cancer are some of the strongest for any type of cancer,” and it lists the following:
1. Diets high in red meats like beef, pork, lamb, and liver and processed meats like hot dogs, some luncheon meats
2. Cooking meats at high temperatures like frying, broiling, grilling
3. Physical inactivity
4. Obesity, particularly in men
6. Heavy alcohol use
7. Age over 50: 9 out of 10 people with colon cancer are over 50
8. Personal history of colon polyps or colorectal cancer, even if the cancer was completely removed
9. Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
10. Family history of colorectal cancer or colonic polyps.
11. African-American race: African Americans have the colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates of all racial groups in the U.S.
What can we do to lower our risk of colon cancer?
1. Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.
2. Get your fiber from whole foods, as fiber supplements apparently are less helpful.
3. Engage in regular exercise.
4. Quit smoking.
5. Drink no more than 2 drinks a day if you’re a man, and 1 drink a day if you’re a woman.
6. Know your risk.
7. Get regular screenings to catch polyps before they become cancerous, and cancer before it becomes advanced.
We lost Ahmad to colon cancer, but we cannot let colon cancer win. Let’s beat it together!
For this information and more, go to :
Dr. Kadisha Rapp is a board certified Emergency Medicine physician with over 10 years’ experience practicing Emergency Medicine in the urban and suburban areas of Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Pa., Philadelphia, Pa., Houston, TX, and other cities. You can reach her at [email protected]. Her website is www.drkbrapp.com. Check out her Youtube channel at RappMDTV.