colon cancer awareness smSo, you're not yet 50 years old and you think colon cancer can't be a problem for you. Think again.

Colon cancer is the number-three cause of cancer-related death for women. Thanks to better screening and early treatment, colon cancer is on the decline among older adults, but colon cancer cases are on the rise for those between the ages of 20 and 49.  Most screening programs focus on people aged 50 or older, but there are risk factors that could make screening for colon cancer something to begin when you're younger.

Anyone with a first or second degree relative, like a parent, child, sibling, grandchild, niece, or nephew with a history of colon cancer should begin screening at a younger age. A person who has had a condition that causes inflammation of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis, IBS or Crohn’s disease may be at an increased risk of developing colon cancer and should start screening sooner.

Obesity is considered to be a risk factor for colon cancer, and new research suggests that normal weight women may also be at greater risk for colon cancer if they have certain traits, such as elevated levels of blood fat, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and low levels of good cholesterol.

Certain genetic traits can be risk factors for colon cancer and DNA testing may be used as a screening tool. The Colon Cancer Alliance offers an online quiz  to help determine if DNA testing for colon cancer might be right for you.

If you have one or more of these risk factors, don’t put off talking to your doctor about early screening. And be aware of symptoms that could be an indication of colon cancer, such as:

    Rectal bleeding
    Weight loss for no known reason
    Weakness or fatigue
    Nausea or vomiting
    Diarrhea, constipation or narrower stools than usual
    Bowel never feels empty
    Blood in your stool (bright red or very dark)
    Persistent cramps, gas, pain, or feeling full or bloated

 If you’re experiencing pain, bleeding or other symptoms you should talk to your doctor right away. Colon cancer is preventable with early treatment. Don't become a grim statistic; ask your doctor about colon cancer screening.


My Life CheckOne out of every three women dies from heart disease. That's a serious problem, but the solution may be as simple as counting to seven. The American Heart Association's My Life Check online assessment calculates your risk and takes you through seven simple steps to a healthier heart.

1. Get active

That means 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day (think brisk walking) on most days of the week. And you don't have to block out a full half-hour for exercise because three 10-minute sessions will work just as well.

2. Control cholesterol

Cholesterol leads to blockages in your arteries and veins. You can keep cholesterol in check by eating more foods that are rich in fiber, like beans, whole-grain breads, pasta and rice, or fatty fish such as tuna or salmon. Avoid beef, pork, cheese, or butter that's high in saturated fat.

3. Eat better

Do your grocery shopping in full color. Start in the produce section and stock up on plenty of fruits and vegetables that are naturally rich in color. Skip the process foods and fill your cart with low-fat dairy and lean meats. And don't forget to stop by the seafood counter for fish that should be on your dinner menu twice a week.

4. Manage blood pressure

High blood pressure stretches your arteries and the damage leaves scar tissue that can contribute to blockages and blood clots. Regular physical activity, eating a diet with less sodium, managing stress and limiting alcohol can work to prevent high blood pressure.

5. Lose weight

When you're overweight or obese that extra fat – especially fat around your waist – increases your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Losing weight and keeping it off is the solution, and here's the good news – losing just 10 pounds can significantly improve blood pressure.

6. Reduce blood sugar

Much of the food you eat is turned into blood sugar, which is the fuel our bodies use for energy. Too much blood sugar can affect insulin levels and lead to diabetes that greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. To reduce blood sugar, avoid foods with simple sugars, like soda, candy and sugary desserts, and get more exercise that will help your body control insulin naturally.

7. Stop smoking

If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your heart health. Smoking damages your entire circulatory system. It increases your risk for heart disease, hardened arteries, and blood clots and can reduce good cholesterol and limit lung capacity, making it harder to exercise.


mother daughter smWomen's health is about more than just childbearing or menopause; it's a lifelong journey with distinctive needs and challenges that begin in the teenaged years and continue until you're a senior citizen. Wherever you fall on that timeline, here are some tips for better health at any age. Remember that every woman should have a wellness checkup with her health provider each year.

In your 20s –  Begin annual pap tests at age 21. Talk with us about whether you plan to have children in the next year or choose the right birth control if you're sexually active. Discuss your risk for sexually transmitted infections and the need for screening.

In your 30s –  Incorporate strength training into your exercise plan to help keep your bones and muscles strong. Your metabolism is beginning to slow down and your eating habits may need to change to avoid weight gain. Talk with us about any family history of heart problems or cancer.

In your 40s – Know your numbers, including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar and body weight because these can indicate your risk for serious conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes or stroke. Ask about having a screening mammogram and talk with us about perimenopause symptoms.

In your 50s – Get tested for diabetes if you're overweight or obese and talk with us about screening for hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Ask about daily aspirin use and get screened for colorectal cancer. And if you're a current or former smoker, ask about lung cancer screening.

In your 60s –  Continue with regular Pap tests and mammograms as recommended by your doctor. Ask about bone density testing to help determine your risk for osteoporosis and get vaccinations for shingles and pneumonia.

In your 70s -  Use strength training or Tai Chi to help maintain better balance and avoid the risk of falls. Talk to your doctor about a screening for hearing loss because this can worsen any effects of memory loss or dementia.


stop cervical cancerIt's a grim statistic -- about 11,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and more than 4,000 of them will die from it. But a few simple steps could save the lives of thousands of women and prevent many new cases from occurring.

Why is cervical cancer easy to beat? Because we have the tools to detect it earlier and a vaccine to stop one of the main causes of cervical cancer. That's why it's important for all women to know how to protect themselves and their children.

resolutionsIt's that time when many women consider making a list of resolutions for the New Year. If that's you, here are a handful of suggestions for pledges that could make 2017 a healthier year.

Stretch Yourself For Better Health
Resistance exercise has many benefits. It can build stronger bones, which is important as women age, and it can increase muscle mass to make it easier to burn more calories. If lifting weights isn't your style, stretching exercises with an inexpensive set of resistance bands can offer the same benefits.

Don't Become a Calorie Monk
Resolve to eat better but don't take a vow to swear-off sweets completely because most people can't do it. Give yourself permission to have an occasional dessert and keep the portion smaller. And try eating only when you're truly hungry. Don't eat until you “feel full” –  stop when your appetite is satisfied

Put Bedtime in Your Planner
Many people don't think of sleep as an activity, but it's something that accounts for about one-third of every day. Make a standing appointment for sleep at the same time every night. If you need help remembering this try setting a daily reminder alarm on your phone to go off 30 minutes before bedtime.

Say “No” More Often
This might seem harsh but most of us agree to do more things than we can accomplish just to satisfy family, friends, or co-workers. A simple "I can't, sorry" can keep you from regularly overextending yourself and help you avoid the health problems that come with too much stress in your life.

Get an “A” on Your Health Tests
Resolve to get all of the tests your doctor recommends for you in 2017. This could include blood testing for cholesterol, a mammogram, a pap test, a colorectal screening, testing for STDs or Hepatitis-C, or a screening test for osteoporosis.


Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax