About 136,830 people are diagnosed with colon cancer every year. There’s no telling if you will end up getting cancer, but fortunately, there are measures we can take to help prevent colon cancer from happening in our own bodies.
- Screenings – One of the most important steps to take in colon cancer prevention is getting screenings. During a screening, doctors are looking for cancer or pre-cancer (polyps) in people who often don’t have symptoms of the disease. When polyps are found they are removed, leaving them no chance to develop into cancer.
- Healthy lifestyle – Being overweight, especially in the belly area, increases the risk of colon cancer. Keep your weight down by doing vigorous exercise and eating a healthy diet. Vigorous exercise reduces polyp formation more than moderate activity. Eating red meats have been linked to colon cancer, keep your consumption of them down while increasing your consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid alcohol and smoking, these have both been linked to colon cancer.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – Studies show that people who take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs= ibuprofen, naproxen) regularly have a lower risk of colon cancer and polyps. Be aware that aspirin and NSAIDs can cause serious side effects such as bleeding from stomach irritation. Because of this, don’t take NSAIDs just to lower your colon cancer risk unless instructed by your doctor.
- Hormone replacement therapy for women – Hormone replacement therapy is when a woman takes estrogen and progesterone after going through menopause. Doing so may reduce a woman’s risk of developing colon cancer. Before starting hormone replacement therapy speak with your doctor about the pros and cons.
To find out more information about colon cancer and how to prevent it visit cancer.org.