For those not familiar with a colonoscopy it's an exam that lets a doctor closely look at the inside of the entire colon. The doctor is looking for polyps or signs of cancer. Polyps are small growths that over time can become cancer. In my particular case it was my fourth such procedure over the last 15+ years and marked the first time that they removed a polyp, I had my first colonoscopy in my late 30's after my mother died of colon cancer, she was 58. Anyone over 50 should have this procedure done as it might be life saving. For those of us who have had an immediate family member diagnosed with the disease they recommend starting earlier.
From the American Cancer website here are a few tidbits:
Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the US, with about 141,210 new cases and 49,380 deaths expected in 2011. About 72% of cases arise in the colon and about 28% in the rectum. Incidence and death rates for colorectal cancer increase with age. Overall, 90% of new cases and 94% of deaths occur in individuals 50 and older.
The incidence rate of colorectal cancer is more than 15 times higher in adults 50 years and older than in those 20 to 49 years. Physical inactivity One of the most consistently reported relationships between colon cancer risk and behavior is the protective effect of physical.
Based on these findings, as well as the numerous other health benefits of regular physical activity, the American Cancer Society recommends engaging in at least moderate activity for 30 minutes or more on 5 or more days per week. Forty-five to 60 minutes of intentional physical activity is preferable. Epidemiologic studies find that:
- High levels of physical activity decrease the risk of colon cancer among men and women by possibly as much as 50%.
- According to most studies, the more physical activity in which people engage, the lower their risk of colon cancer. In men and women, both recreational and occupational physical activity decrease risk.
- Sedentary people who become active later in life may also reduce their risk.
- Even moderate physical activities, such as brisk walking or stair climbing, are associated with lower risk of colon cancer.