Staying Healthy At 50: Cancer Prevention is Key
- Heidi Klum, 50, who has been living it up in Sardinia, Italy, in recent days, previously had a colonoscopy done to prevent colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer. Colon cancer is a disease that affects your large intestine (colon) or the end of your intestine (rectum).
- The cancer starts when abnormal lumps called polyps grow in the colon or rectum. These polyps can sometimes change into cancer if you don't have them removed. It takes up to 10 years for a colon polyp to become full-blown cancer, according to SurvivorNet experts.
- Most colon cancers can be prevented if people are regularly screened. The screening usually involves a colonoscopy, in which a long thin tube attached to a camera is used to examine the colon and rectum. If no polyps are discovered, the next screening won't be needed for about 10 years.
- Since the American Gastrointestinal Association lowered the recommended initial age for a colorectal screening from 50 to 45, Klum admitted she was “a little late to the party” to get a colonoscopy. Thankfully, Klum’s colonoscopy results turned out to be normal.
As Klum, who is known for gracing the pages of Sports Illustrated and for being a Victoria’s Secret model, has been vacationing at the famous Cala di Volpe Hoel in Sardinia, Italy, with her 33-year-old husband Tom Kaulitz, we can’t help but think about what she’s been doing to sustain longevity.Read More
Speaking to comedian Nicole Byer, Klum said, “Usually I have my photo taken from the outside, but they were all in there.” She recounted learning (when she had the the screening done) the intestine was 8 meters long.
Klum had a colonoscopy done to prevent colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, which is a type of cancer that affects your large intestine (colon) or the end of your intestine (rectum).
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The cancer starts when abnormal lumps called polyps grow in the colon or rectum. These polyps can sometimes change into cancer if you don't have them removed. It takes up to 10 years for a colon polyp to become full-blown cancer, according to SurvivorNet experts.
Most colon cancers can be prevented if people are regularly screened. The screening usually involves a colonoscopy, in which a long thin tube attached to a camera is used to examine the colon and rectum. If no polyps are discovered, the next screening won't be needed for about 10 years.
Since the American Gastrointestinal Association lowered the recommended initial age for a colorectal screening from 50 to 45, Klum admitted she was “a little late to the party” to get a colonoscopy. Thankfully, Klum’s colonoscopy results turned out to be normal.
Aside from cancer prevention, Klum admitted earlier this year that her youthful skin was due to genetics and her positive attitude.
Speaking to Fox News Digital in May, she explained how “always seeing the glass rather half full than half empty” and not frowning helps her appearance stay fresh.
Klum explained further, “I think up with the mouth corners is always better. I feel like always just try, if you can, to go positive in every day. To me, it’s just better, I feel like. And then you don’t get those wrinkles going down.
“I guess I have them [wrinkles] everywhere around my eyes because I smile too much.”
Back in 2020, Klum opened up to Harper’s Bazaar about protecting her skin from sun damage.
“I have added sunscreen to my daily routine. I grew up without a lot of awareness of how important it is to keep your skin protected from the sun. I remember tanning with baby oil can you imagine doing that now?” she said.
“I have always been a sun bum. I'm at my happiest on a beautiful beach in the hot sun but, now, I put on sunscreen first. I like the tinted sunscreen by La Roche Posay.”
Klum makes it a point to stay moisturized as well. She added, “I definitely think that you can buy all the potions and creams but it is essential to nourish your skin from within.
“I drink a fresh smoothie every morning that is made from fresh fruit and vegetables, and I take two Perfectil Vitamins which are targeted for my skin, hair and nails.”
She also admitted to trying to “keep it very natural” on days she’s not working, meaning she refrains from wearing a lot of makeup.
Colon Cancer Impacting Younger People
Heidi Klum’s cancer prevention efforts have helped raise awareness for colon cancer, which is important because the disease has been found to be impacting people of younger ages. While the average age people are diagnosed with colon cancer is 68 for men and 72 for women, according to the American Cancer Society, researchers are sounding the alarm on a growing and concerning trend.
The National Cancer Institute reports that since the 1990s colorectal cancer cases have been rising among adults younger than 50. Research published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians found that the proportion of cases in people younger than 55 "increased from 11% in 1995 to 20% in 2019."
"We know rates are increasing in young people, but it's alarming to see how rapidly the whole patient population is shifting younger, despite shrinking numbers in the overall population," cancer epidemiologist and lead study author Rebecca Siegel said.
Researchers are still trying to determine why younger people are being diagnosed in greater numbers. Some experts point to risk factors which include obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking as a possible explanation for the increase.
"Some of those [risk factors] have become more common over the last 45 years, along with this rise in early-onset cases," National Cancer Institute program director Phil Daschner said, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Andrea Dwyer from the Colorado School of Public Health suggests in addition to young people's lifestyles, the foods they eat could play a role in increased colon cancer diagnosis.
"We don't know for sure why we are seeing earlier onset and death from colon cancer," Dr. Heather Yeo, a surgical oncologist who specializes in colorectal cancers at Weill Cornell Medicine, told SurvivorNet.
"It is likely a combination of factors, including diet and genetics as well as access to care and some environmental factors."
Prevention Is Key
Back in 2020, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently drafted new recommended guidelines which state colon cancer screenings should begin at 45-years-old. This was in response to the increase we are seeing of colon cancer diagnoses in younger adults.
However, many insurance companies still do not cover the cost of screenings for those below the age of 50. In the past, the disease had predominantly been found in adults 50-years or older, but for those predisposed to get it at a younger age, these new guidelines could potentially help catch it at an earlier stage.
If you have a close relative who had colon cancer, a rule of thumb is to get screened 10 years prior to their age of diagnosis to make sure any growths or cancers are caught early.
If you have several family members who had colon cancer, or family members who got it at a young age (less than 50 years old), it may be necessary to undergo genetic screening.
And if you have a lot of polyps on your colonoscopy or if you yourself have had colon cancer previously, you will need a colonoscopy every 3 to 5 years.
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff