Colon health plays a crucial role in maintaining overall well-being. By understanding the risk factors associated with colorectal cancer and adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can significantly reduce your chances of developing this potentially life-threatening condition. In this article, we will discuss colorectal cancer, how to maintain a healthy colon, risk factors, and the benefits of affordable and accessible screening options, such as Helena ColoCARE kits.

Colorectal cancer is the second-most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. It typically begins as a noncancerous polyp, which can develop into cancer if left untreated. Regular screenings are essential, as early-stage colorectal cancer may not present noticeable symptoms.

Risk factors for colon cancer include:
• Age (45 years and older)
• Family or personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps
• Genetic polyp syndromes (such as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis or Lynch syndrome)
• Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
• Obesity
• Smoking
• Sedentary lifestyle
• Heavy alcohol consumption
• Type 2 diabetes

To keep your colon healthy, consider the following lifestyle changes:
• Eat a high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
• Limit red and processed meat consumption
• Maintain a healthy body weight
• Exercise regularly
• Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption
• Stay hydrated
• Talk to your healthcare provider about appropriate colorectal cancer screening options

Early screening and detection of colorectal cancer can significantly improve the chances of successful treatment. It is important to talk with your health care provider about what type of colorectal screening test is best for you. Helena ColoCARE kit (available at all AHF health fairs for $5) provides an affordable and convenient colorectal cancer screening option. ColoCARE is a fecal occult blood test that detects pre-symptomatic bleeding caused by gastrointestinal diseases. It is easy to use, clean, disposable, and environmentally friendly. Simply place the test pad in the toilet after a bowel movement, watch for a color change, and flush it away.

While Helena ColoCARE kits are valuable tools for colorectal cancer screening, they have certain limitations:
• ColoCARE is not a substitute for a colonoscopy if recommended by your physician
• The test should be repeated at least once a year for optimal screening
• Women should avoid taking the test during or near their menstruation period
• Individuals with ongoing conditions (e.g., diverticulitis or hemorrhoids) that cause blood in the stool should consult a doctor for alternative screening options

Understanding the importance of colon health and taking preventative measures can significantly reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer. By adopting a healthy lifestyle and participating in regular screenings, you can take control of your health and potentially save your life.


About Alaska Health Fair, Inc.
Alaska Health Fair, Inc. (AHF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing health education and affordable blood testing to Alaskans. Established in 1980, AHF has been serving the community for over four decades, promoting health awareness and offering resources for individuals to take control of their well-being. For blood test pricing and event schedule, please visit