July 2024 Health & Wellness

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Health & Wellness 2024

The Importance of Colon Cancer Screening

Colon Cancer Screenings: What You Need to Know

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a type of cancer that affects the colon or rectum. CRC screenings can help detect cancer in the early stages, when it may still be curable.

Certain groups of people are at a higher risk of CRC:

• Men
• African American adults
• Jews of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi Jews)
• American Indians
• Alaskan Natives
• People who have a family history of CRC
• People with obesity or diabetes

Current guidelines suggest that people between the ages of 45 and 75 get screened for CRC. If you have a family history of CRC, your healthcare provider may suggest that you begin testing earlier. Colonoscopy is the most common way to diagnose colon cancer, but there are less invasive stool-based, at-home test kits that can detect issues as well.

Check with your doctor to see if the following test options may be right for you.
• High-Sensitivity Guaiac Fecal Occult Blood Tests (gFOBT) check for the presence of blood in the stool.
• Fecal Immunochemical (FIT) Tests use antibodies to check for blood in the stool, and a positive test result may indicate the presence of polyps or CRC.
• sDNA-FIT Tests use a combination of DNA biomarkers and the FIT Test to detect cancer within cells that shed from the lining of the colon and rectum.

If your stool-based test is positive, discuss your results with your healthcare provider, who will likely order colonoscopy to complete the screening process.

There are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of developing CRC:

• Diet: Eat a variety of colorful, high-fiber foods & limit red meat (beef, pork, & lamb) and processed meats.
• Exercise: Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
• Alcohol: Drink alcohol in moderation.
• Smoking: If you use tobacco, create a quit plan today.

Healthy lifestyle behaviors and early detection are two important tools to help prevent colorectal cancer.

The Power of Prevention

Prevention is about taking action to protect your health. Detecting health problems early may help prevent or slow the progression to a more complicated medical condition.

Preventive care includes staying current on relevant health screenings, practicing self-care, and visiting your healthcare provider regularly for check-ups. Routine care helps you maintain good health, save on medical expenses, and live longer.

There are 3 main categories of health prevention: 

1. Primary Prevention is when you make healthy lifestyle choices that reduce your risk of illness. Examples
include healthy eating, getting vaccinations, and being physically active.

2. Secondary Prevention is when you stay current with recommended screenings and testing to help identify health concerns in the earliest stages.

3. Tertiary Prevention is when you take proactive steps to manage an existing condition in order to slow its
progression and avoid complications.

The most powerful prevention plans incorporate strategies within all relevant categories.

Another aspect of prevention is learning how to recognize changes in your health. When you notice a change, it is important to connect with a member of your healthcare team without delay.

Here are just a few examples of changes that warrant a visit to your healthcare provider:

• Feeling a lump or growth anywhere on your body
• A fever that is above 103˚ Fahrenheit (39.4˚ Celsius) or lingers for more than three days
• A cough that will not go away
• Unexplained body aches or pains
• Severe or intense pain anywhere in your body
• Changes in your bowel movements or blood in your stool
• Moles or growths on your skin that have gotten worse
• Unplanned weight loss

Detecting health issues before they become more advanced is a key element of prevention. If you recognize a change in your health, take immediate action and seek guidance from a medical professional. Telehealth is also a convenient option if you live in a remote location or have scheduling challenges.

Prevention is about taking action to protect your health.

Preventive Care Checklist

Staying up to date with health screenings and routine testing can help reduce your risk of preventable, chronic health conditions like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has up-to-date information on essential screenings that are designed to detect health problems early. Screening recommendations are generally categorized by age, sex, associated medical conditions, and health risk factors. 

Getting a wellness check-up every year is one way to stay current with recommended health screenings and tests. If it has been more than a year since you visited your healthcare provider, set aside some time and schedule an appointment right away. Annual wellness visits give you the opportunity to address medical questions and concerns with your provider.

Here are some examples of preventive care to discuss with your provider:

Annual Wellness Visits

• General check-up (blood pressure, body temperature, height, and weight)
• Annual dental cleaning and exam
• Annual eye exam
• Well baby/child visits

Blood Work

Your healthcare provider may also recommend a number of blood tests that are necessary based on your age, health risks, symptoms, family history, and existing medical conditions.

Condition-Specific Screenings

• Stool-based colorectal cancer (CRC) screening test or colonoscopy
• Type 2 diabetes screening
• Mammogram
• Pap smear
• Prostate cancer screening
• Bone density screening


• Flu shot
• Pneumonia
• Hepatitis B
• COVID-19
• Shingles
• Tetanus
• Child vaccinations
• Any relevant travel vaccines

Other Screenings

• Alcohol use screening
• Depression screening
• Skin cancer screening
• Sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing 

Certain health conditions may require ongoing testing and screening. The results of these tests can also help your healthcare team determine if your current treatment plan is working, or if changes may be needed.

Prevention is a powerful tool that can help you avoid costly medical conditions and protect your health.

No Bake Watermelon Cake

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this fun no-bake “cake” the whole family will enjoy. Fresh summer watermelon makes a sturdy base and is rich in vitamin C and carotenoids that offer cancer-protective potential. “Frost” with a sweet and tangy frosting with protein- packed Greek yogurt mixed with a small amount of cream cheese and a little whipped cream. Or show off the rich red melon color and serve without frosting.

Watermelon Cake


1/3 cup whipping cream

12 oz. plain non-fat Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. reduced-fat cream cheese

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. medium seedless watermelon, well-chilled

Blackberries, kiwi slices, red raspberries, for garnish


1. Pour whipping cream in small mixing bowl and chill in refrigerator for about 10 to 20 minutes. (Cream is easier to whip when cold.) Meanwhile, in medium mixing bowl, mix together yogurt and cream cheese.  Set aside.

2. When cream is chilled, add sugar to cream and whip with whisk or electric mixer until moderately stiff peaks form. (Be careful not to overbeat because too much whipping will turn cream to butter.) Add whipped cream and lemon juice to yogurt/cheese mixture. Chill.

3. Slice off both watermelon ends to make a flat top and bottom. Set melon on one flat end and carve rind off sides to make a round, cake-shaped watermelon.

4. Place watermelon cake on serving plate and frost top and sides with chilled icing. Decorate with fruit on top and around the bottom. Keep well chilled until serving.

Makes 10 servings. Per serving: 150 calories, 4 g total fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans-fat), 15 mg cholesterol, 16 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 1 g dietary fiber, 30 mg sodium, 22 g sugar, 3 g added sugar.