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National Colon Cancer Awareness Month

For this month’s article, I’d like to briefly discuss two of this month’s national health observances. The first is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month. In 2022, an estimated 145,600 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer and 51,000 will die from the disease. Risk
factors we can’t change include a family history of colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease. Things we can address are an inactive lifestyle, a diet with few fruits and vegetables, being overweight, smoking and drinking too much. Changing any or all of these habits can reduce your risk for developing colon cancer. Screening guidelines have recently changed to decrease the age for screening to 45 years old.

There are several ways to be screened for colon cancer. The most common and most definitive is a colonoscopy. If the test is normal, it is then repeated at 10 year intervals. Less invasive tests involve different ways of examining stool samples. Most tests are done every year and one type is done every three years. In the event that a test is positive, that is blood is detected, a colonoscopy is then ordered. Screening everyone at the appropriate time can save lives. We implementing new processes at HealthTexas to encourage our patients to stay up to date with their screenings.

The other topic this month is National Kidney Month. With the high prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure in our community, it is important to do everything we can to protect our kidneys. The National Kidney Foundation recommends “Taking 5 for our Kidneys.” This includes having your renal function tested if you are at risk, avoiding anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and naproxen, reducing processed foods from our diets, exercising regularly, and staying hydrated. Doing everything we can to take care of our kidneys reduces our
risk of needing dialysis at some point in our lives.

As always, if you have questions about these topics, please reach out to your primary care physician.

Michael Dominguez, MD, FAAFP is board certified in Family Medicine. His office is located at
HealthTexas Primary Care Doctors – Holy Cross, 590 N. General McMullen, 78228, phone: 210-