Gut Feeling

by Caroline Benitez

While many of us are used to making decisions based on a gut feeling, it takes more than intuition to know your risk of colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer refers to cancer of the digestive tract- specifically, cancer occurring in the large intestine (colon) or rectum. Roughly 148,000 new cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed in 2019. That makes it the fourth most common kind of cancer in the United States.

Early detection is key to fighting this disease. Screening through stool samples and colonoscopies are tools used to catch early warning signs of colorectal cancer, such as blood in the stool or precancerous polyps. The CDC recommends that anyone between the ages of 50 and 75 get screened for colorectal cancer. Thanks to a partnership with Lakeland Surgical and Diagnostics, LVIM is able to ensure that our patients get the screening colonoscopies that they need.

Whether you’re due for a screening or still have some time to go, it’s never too early to take action! Below are some small steps you can take to lower your risk of colorectal cancer.

Get screened

Factors such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or a family history of cancer increase your risk. Talk to your doctor to find out the right time for you to start screening.

Quit Smoking

Stopping use of cigarettes and tobacco products is a good call to prevent all kinds of cancers. Studies estimate that anywhere from 15-20% of all colon cancer cases can be attributed to smoking.

Get moving

Because being overweight can be a negative risk factor, increasing your daily physical activity is a step in the right direction. Try walking with friends or family for a fun and free form of exercise!

Try a healthier diet

While no single food or diet is proven to prevent cancer, research suggests that cutting back on animal fats and adding fiber in the form of whole grains, vegetables, and nuts could promote good colon health.

About LVIM

LVIM provides free, high-quality, out-patient medical, dental, and mental health care to the working uninsured of Polk County in a compassionate manner. Through 19 years of excellent leadership, LVIM has grown into a thriving and crucial organization for the Polk County community serving the health care needs of over 4,300 eligible patients each year and providing over $9 million in services in 2019 alone. At LVIM the treatment is free, the care is priceless!

To find out if you qualify please visit or call (863) 688-5846.

“Basic Information about Colorectal Cancer.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Feb. 2020,

“Colorectal Cancer.” American Cancer Society, 2020,