Research shows an increase in colorectal cancer cases among Americans under the age of 50. While the rates decrease for those over 50, individuals between the ages of 20 and 49 face double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer compared to those born around 1950. For those born around 1990, their risk is even higher.

 

Annie frowned at the gallon jug of prep in front of her. It was time to start drinking it in preparation for her colonoscopy. It had been ten years since the last one. “Where did the time go?” she thought as she reached for a glass.

LJ watched her. “Babes, it’s just prep. You know how important this is for your health. Besides, you’re a trooper.” He poured the solution into her glass. “They say necessity is the mother of invention. And in this case, the necessity is keeping our colons healthy. Now, here’s a trick: use a straw. It helps bypass your taste buds.”

“A straw? Really?”

“Trust me. And I’ve got another secret weapon. Crystal Light lemonade flavor. I’ll mix it in, and it’ll taste like a summer drink.”

 

“Hmm, not bad. It’s like lemonade. I don’t know why I have to do this. The last one I had showed everything was fine.”

LJ leaned over and pulled her close. “Annie, colonoscopies are crucial for early detection of colon cancer. They allow doctors to examine the lining of your colon, find polyps, and remove them before they turn cancerous. It’s like preventive maintenance for our bodies.”

“Okay, I get it. I don’t remember the actual procedure being painful, but that was a while ago. Has anything changed?”

“Not at all. You’ll be sedated, and the colonoscope is a thin, flexible tube. They’ll gently explore your colon, and you won’t feel a thing. Remember how uneventful it was?”

“Yes, I do. I also remember the GI doctor found a polyp when my sister had her colonoscopy last year.”

“A polyp? What did they do?”

“They removed it right then and there. No fuss. It prompted me to schedule a colonoscopy, and now I’m even more convinced of the importance of these early detection screenings.”

The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) recommends that individuals at average risk begin screening at 45. If an individual has a family history of colorectal cancer or advanced polyps, they should start screening at age 40 if they have one or two first-degree relatives with these conditions. For adults aged 76-85, screening should be based on their overall health, life expectancy, and previous screenings.

 

“I’ll bring you home after the procedure and make anything you want since you’ll probably be hungry, but it will be foods that support colon health, like:

 

  1. Legumes: beans, peas, and lentils are folate and fiber-rich. They help keep our digestive system moving smoothly and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  2. Asparagus: They’re not just a fancy side dish. Asparagus contains folate, which supports healthy cell division and other benefits.
  3. Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and arugula contain vitamins and minerals, including folate, and they’re fiber-rich and low-calorie.
  4. Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are antioxidant powerhouses. They protect our cells and promote colon health.
  5. Flaxseeds: These tiny seeds contain fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
  6. Garlic: flavors our food and has anti-inflammatory properties that support gut health.

 

“Okay, I would like a Chopped Asparagus Salad and a Berry Fruit Salad that includes blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries for dessert.”

 

“No problem,” laughed LJ. “I see you understand the assignment about how to keep your colon healthy.”

 

“I do now.” Annie poured more prep and added the straw.

 

 

Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.

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