Top 3 Tips for Healthy Living in 2016

by David M. Kaplan MD, MSc, CCFP

TIP 1: Canadians aged 50 or over should get screened for colon cancer

Only about 30% of Canadians aged 50 to 79 years-old get screened for colon cancer. Colon cancer is cancer of the lower bowel; about 1 in 20 people will get this cancer sometimes during their life. About 40% of patients who get colorectal cancer will die from it. There are two methods of screening people at low-risk:

  • stool testing for blood every 1-2 years
  • colonoscopy every 10 years 

 For more information visit or call our office or your family doctor
Colon Cancer Information from the Mayo Clinic

TIP 2: Most Adult Canadians should take in about 1000 to 2000 international units (IU) of vitamin D every day – not specifically for disease prevention, but for normal body function. 

Vitamin D helps to strengthen your bones, may thwart different forms of cancer,  and may stave off multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders. We know it is a prohormone that helps improve muscle strength and immune function, reduces inflammation, and promotes the absorption of calcium from the bowel. It also helps maintain our blood levels of the calcium and phosphate, which we need for bone formation,  growth, and repair.A large study (2007) showed that patients taking 500 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily had a seven per cent lower risk of death compared with those given a placebo. One cup of fortified milk contains 100 IU of vitamin D. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends Canadians take 1000 international units (IU) a day during fall and winter months. For more information visit or call your healthcare provider.

Vitamin D Information from the Mayo Clinic

TIP 3: Women should have routine pap smears.

Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in young women aged 25-39. Most women diagnosed with cervical cancer have not had a pap smear in 3 years. All women over age 21 who have been sexually active should have routine pap smears. Additionally, young women aged 9-25 can be vaccinated against the two most common strains of HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer. These girls and young women can speak to their doctor confidentially about the vaccine. For more information visit or call your healthcare provider:

Society of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of Canada: How to Turn an Embarrassing Moment Into a Positive Experience
Life after Puberty: My First Pelvic Exam