Prevention of Colorectal cancer


Prevention list: Methods of prevention of Colorectal cancer mentioned in various sources includes those listed below. This prevention information is gathered from various sources, and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Colorectal cancer.

Prevention of Colorectal cancer: Colorectal cancer can be prevented by getting screening tests once you reach age 50. These tests look for polyps and early signs of cancer. Some of the tests can remove polyps at the same time. Talk with your health care provider about what tests are best for you and how often you should get them. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or other special conditions, your doctor may suggest starting screening tests before age 50. 1

Other things you can do to help prevent colorectal cancer include:

  • Have a healthy diet low in fat and high in fiber, with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Researchers are looking at foods rich in folate (the natural form of folic acid), such as leafy green vegetables and fortified cereals, for how they may help reduce a person's risk for colorectal cancer. Adding these foods to your diet or taking a daily multivitamin with 0.4 mg of folic acid may help.

  • Get regular exercise (30 minutes per day most days of the week).

  • Lose weight if you are overweight (obese).

  • Limit alcohol intake and do not smoke or use tobacco products.

Some studies have shown that using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help reduce a person's risk for colorectal cancer. For women, using hormones after menopause may decrease the risk for colon (but not rectal) cancer. New research shows that some pain medications called COX-2 inhibitors may also help to prevent colon cancer. Other studies are looking at stopping smoking, taking aspirin each day, decreased alcohol intake, and increased physical activity to see if they can prevent colorectal cancer.1

Fecal Occult Blood Test. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S. The risk of developing colorectal cancer rises after age 50. It is common in both men and women. Studies show that a fecal occult blood test every 1 or 2 years in people between the ages of 50 and 80 decreases the number of deaths due to colorectal cancer. For this test, stool samples are applied to special cards, which are examined in a lab for occult (hidden) blood.2

A doctor uses a thin, flexible tube with a light (sigmoidoscope) to look inside the colon and rectum for growths or abnormal areas. Fewer people may die of colorectal cancer if they have regular screening by sigmoidoscopy after age 50.2

1. excerpt from Colorectal Cancer: NWHIC
2. excerpt from Cancer Facts for People Over 50 - Age Page - Health Information: NIA

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