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Soda City Live: Losing someone to colon cancer

Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 1:18 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2022 at 5:04 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Have you lost a loved one to colon cancer? It is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. And today on Soda City Live, one guest knows the personal connection to losing people to cancer. She’s not only an oncology nurse, but colon cancer hit her family. Adina Maynard is known as Nurse Adina.

March is a pivotal time of year for Nurse Adina. She says, “My dad was one of 11 kids and he pretty much worked his entire adult life. He did smoke when he was younger, but quit when he was in his 30′s. He lead an active life and did not drink. He spent the last 20 years of his life living on his farm in Ohio with his wife, Rita. Dad was first diagnosed in 2007 when I was in nursing school at San Diego State. He went through surgery and chemo and was cancer-free for about six years. It returned in November 2013 – just a few months after he retired. I took a leave of absence from work and went to Ohio to help.”

When asked if everything causes cancer, Nurse Adina says, no, and that people like to hide behind that statement so they don’t have to make any lifestyle changes. She says there are definitely steps each of us can take to help reduce the likelihood of getting cancer. Regardless, she’s had patients and clients who followed a healthy lifestyle and still got cancer. And she’s known people, like her maternal grandmother, who smoked till the day she died and never got cancer.

The American Cancer Society estimates that one in two men and one in three women will develop cancer in their lifetime. Specifically with colon cancer when we look at race, African Americans have the highest incidence of colon cancer as well as mortality. Nurse Adina says, “The encouraging number is that an estimated 40% of cancers are preventable and diet can impact cancer risk in several ways. When we look at the statistics for colon cancer, only 5% of colon cancers are genetic – meaning 95% are related to diet and lifestyle. My dad, and his mom both had colon cancer but neither of them had a genetic component. What they did have in common is learned eating behaviors. So it’s not genetic – it’s behavioral.”

Nurse Adina is a big fan of focusing on what people can control. Here is her advice:

  • First, get your colonoscopy. Colonoscopies can not only detect cancer, but they can also find and remove polyps in your colon and polyps are the pre-cursor to colon cancer.
  • Increase Fiber intake to 25 grams of fiber a day.
  • Increase your water intake to two liters a day – or (4) 16-ounce water bottles. You need to increase your water intake because increasing fiber without increasing fluid can lead to constipation. Fiber is a crucial component as it helps our bodies get rid of what we consume. What goes in, must come out. Healthy poops (1-3 a day) are a good sign you are doing something right.
  • Ensure your plate has lots of color on it. Plates should never be full of brown, tan, and white. We want bright, vibrant colors on our plates
  • Focus on what you should eat like fiber, fluid, color foods. When you focus on what TO DO, it leaves little room for the “bad” stuff like fast food, processed food or fried foods.
  • Every bite is a choice Don’t beat yourself up. Your GPS doesn’t scream at you when you make a wrong turn, so don’t condemn yourself for eating a donut once in a while.
  • Eating to live vs. living to eat. Be aware of the nutritional content of what you are eating. Fast food is convenient, but it’s not your friend.

Other advice includes watching Forks Over Knives which is streaming their award-winning documentary for free on their website.

Some people participate in Meatless Mondays. Nurse Adina says, “Some folks decide to only eat meat once a day. And if you are worried about getting enough protein as you start to incorporate more plants into your diet, I encourage you to watch Game Changers.”

Nurse Adina says, “Here’s my encouragement for everyone: ‘Today is a great day to start doing your part.’”

You can go to www.NurseAdina.com to read Nurse Adina’s blog on Preventing Cancer.

Resources Nurse Adina likes:

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html

https://www.forksoverknives.com/health-topics/cancer-and-diet/

https://www.forksoverknives.com/the-film/

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