An estimated 104,270 American adults will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year. Screenings such as colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy enable gastroenterologist Eric Ibegbu, MD, and our team at Atlantic Medical Group to spot polyps and tumors in your colon.
If Dr. Ibegbu detects polyps or tumors, he can remove the polyps and remove or recommend treatment to shrink cancerous tumors. Colon cancer treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Because screenings can catch colon cancer in the earlier stages, you have a greater chance of surviving colon cancer while it’s still localized. The survival rate for colon cancer when it’s found in the earlier stages is 91%.
Life after cancer can be a mix of emotions, from relief to worry and apprehension. Below, Dr. Ibegbu shares some of the lifestyle modifications you can expect after colon cancer.
The importance of a support group
Cancer is scary, and even with treatment, you may worry that cancer can return. Joining a support group gives you a safe place to explore your emotions and work through your worries. Cancer support groups can also help you connect with others with shared experiences.
The National Cancer Institute attests that joining a cancer support group can reduce anxiety and stress, improve quality of life, and improve mood. A cancer survivorship support group helps you navigate your new normal with confidence.
Exploring your dietary needs
If you have colon cancer, your nutrient needs change, especially if you're undergoing chemotherapy. Studies show that eating a high-fiber diet can reduce the mortality rate for those diagnosed with colon cancer.
You may also find that eating smaller but more frequent meals helps to combat nausea associated with chemotherapy. The American Cancer Society also recommends:
- Plant-based foods, including beans and peas, to replace your meat sources a few times each week
- Fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits and dark, leafy greens
- High-protein snacks, including Greek yogurt
Even after you’ve completed your colon cancer treatments, continue following a colon-healthy diet. Colon cancer survivors who eat the following foods live longer than those who eat red meat and processed foods:
- Fresh fruit
- Whole grains
- Poultry and fish
Your oncology team can provide specific nutritional guidelines based on your needs.
Colonoscopy after colon cancer
After you’ve been diagnosed and treated for cancer, your follow-up care is important. Follow-up care includes regular checkups and screenings.
We encourage many of our colon cancer patients to receive a colonoscopy about a year after surgery so we can monitor for any changes or growths. Depending on the results of your colonoscopy, you may need more frequent or less frequent testing.
Manage stress and worry
While your physical needs may consume a lot of your time, it’s important to focus on your mental needs, too. Cancer survivors can support their mental wellness by:
- Attending support groups
- Practicing deep breathing exercises
- Listening to calming music
- Not overdoing your schedule
- Talking to a therapist, if needed
Are you concerned about colon cancer? To schedule a screening or to speak with Dr. Ibegbu about colon cancer, contact our office in Kinston or Jacksonville, North Carolina, today.