What Are the Risk Factors for Colon Cancer?

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We're talking about my recent colonoscopy in which a pre-cancerous polyp was removed. Now one of my greatest fears is that you are going to take my experience and think your health is not in you control, it is very much in your hands. Get a colonoscopy and it's a good chance you can avoid cancer all together.

That's taking real control, are we all clear on this? Yes. I don't want you walking out of here with the wrong impressions about that's why I'm telling this story, it's why we are being public about it. So this is actually that bad boy, that is the polyp and it's petrifying, hold it here in my hands, that that thing could have grown to be a big issue.

It's been sliced thin so the pathologist can look at it under her microscope and make the call. And this is the kind right there, that's a kind of polyp that can grow into cancer. So John, there are a lot of folks like me. I'm 50, I'm in pretty reasonable health, I do a lot of the things, I practice what I preach on the show, I do the stuff we talk about, so how did I get this? What happened right, Mehmet you did everything right okay, healthy lifestyle, your'e eating right, you exercise, you leave me in the dust when we go running, right? All of that great living has created a potential path for you to get from here aged 50 to 100 in great shape okay.

But you can never make a perfect absolute perfectly safe path and there are some landmines in there, and some hand grenades okay. And one of the hand grenades was this polyp, and you were able by getting the colonoscopy to fuse it and remove it, but you're never totally in control, you can walk down the street and an air conditioner could fall out and hit you over the head, but you do what you can, and that's why it's so important that you did this, but the punchline is if you were not having a healthy lifestyle, if you were obese and if you didn't do any exercise those things actually increase your risk of colon cancer.

So had you not been living such a healthy lifestyle by now that little innocent polyp might have been a lot bigger it could even been a colon cancer already. So get out your pen and paper because right now we are going to walk through what the risk factors are for polyps and colon cancer so write real quickly, I only had one of them, I'm 50, that's the only factor that I had but it one unfortunate for me it was an important one.

Having polyps already in your life that become one I have that now starting,a family history of course is always important, a diet that's high in fat content, specifically in most of the protein, the meat we have that ends up being a risk factor and especially if you don't get some of the nutrients that you need, obesity, smoking and also by the way being African- American ends up being an important risk factor.

So those are the classic ones, write those down. So John, I only had one so what the top symptom? To ensure with everybody because John informed me about this, and it stun me, it just blew my mind, what is number one symptom of people who have precancerous polyps? Number one symptom, I'm feeling perfectly fine, let's go to lunch.

Okay. No symptoms but if we could get that across, these myths, no symptoms for colon polyps, that's why you have to get screened some how and there are all these other myths that women don't get colon cancer, right. Women get colon cancer just like guys do. Same percentage? Same percentage or that I have no family history of colon cancer so I must be safe not true 70% of people who get colon cancer have no family history.

So how often when you do a colonoscopy on someone like me, there a lot of people out there who watching the show just like me, do you find a polyp? In a 50 year old it's probably at least 20% of the time, okay? If and what it really depends on though is how carefully the exam you do.

Okay, did you do a perfect prep? Because if there is a lot of stuff say, I don't know lentils and rice that person ate a little late in the prep, they were in there then you might not be able to see every inch of it or if they didn't get all the way around if you weren't careful.