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How to Spring People Into Action: Colorectal Cancer and Diabetes

Mar 08, 2018

Timika-headshot-updated_125-cirAbout the Author:

Guest blogger Timika Chambers is a Holistic Health Coach, Certified Diabetes Educator, and has over 18 years of experience in the nursing profession. She has served in community and hospital settings, as well as academia. Timika helps her clients design a lifestyle that is full of energy and focus, by helping them to create and eat nutritious meals, to develop a consistent physical activity regime that works for them, and by helping them to achieve balance in critical areas of their lives. Timika offers one-on-one counseling, group coaching, and presentations and training on diabetes management to lay persons and healthcare professionals. She is currently completing online healthy living programs to help others around the globe to focus on health management instead of disease management. Visit her website to find out more about her services.


We are always learning more about diabetes and the damaging effects of hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance. For some time, we have known that having a diagnosis of diabetes increases one’s risk of amputations, blindness, heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, and stroke. We are now learning that there is a link between diabetes and other health conditions, including colorectal cancer. 

While diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death, colorectal cancer is considered to be the third most common type of cancer in men and women. Just like type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer can sometimes be prevented. The good news is that many of the positive lifestyle changes that we encourage our clients to adopt are essential to the prevention of colorectal cancer. We must remind our clients that diabetes is more than just managing their blood sugar. Healthy living is a process, and a journey worth taking. Positive lifestyle changes such as healthy eating and consistent physical activity are the cornerstone of healthy eating for everyone, with or without diabetes.

Therefore, it is essential that we continue to:

  1. Educate people about the signs and symptoms associated with colorectal cancer. We want our clients to be comfortable with speaking with their healthcare provider about symptoms such as a change in their bowel habits, pain in their abdomen, and bloody stools. 
  2. Reinforce the importance of eating well-balanced meals. I have found that many people are not familiar with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) dietary guidelines regarding fruits and vegetables. Some of the people I have worked with barely eat one vegetable per day and overload on several servings of fruit per day.
  3. Reinforce the importance of developing healthy ways of coping with life stressors. We must not shy away from speaking with our clients about smoking cessation and the recommendations for alcohol intake. Many people want to make positive behavior changes; yet, they lack the necessary resources and support to do so.
  4. Address barriers associated with physical activity. Recently, one of my clients mentioned that she does not like the word exercise. As healthcare professionals, we know that moving the body on a consistent basis is important to blood flow and proper nourishment of the body. Sometimes, we may need to help people reframe their thinking about exercise. We can help them search for more creative and individualized ways to move their body on a consistent basis. I have found myself using the words physical activity and body movement to talk about exercise. 

Let me know your thoughts.


Reference

American Cancer Society (2018). Key Statistics of Colorectal Cancer. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/about/key-statistics.html

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