Reducing Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer
Eat a Healthy Diet
Diets that are high in fat (particularly fat from animal sources, such as meat) and low in fruits and vegetables increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Until recently, it was believed that a high- fiber diet
To reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, stop smoking
Use Alcohol in Moderation
Regular use of alcohol among smokers and people with high-fat diets appears to increase the risk of colorectal cancer. However, there does not seem to be an increased risk among people who drink alcohol, but eat diets high in fiber.
Know Your Genetic Predispositon to Colorectal Cancer
Colon cancer can run in families. If more than one close relative has developed colon cancer before age 60, you may be at increased risk. You may also be at risk if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with familial adenomaous polypolsis (FAP) or hereditary nonpolposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).
If you have a strong family history of the disease, the best prevention is by having regular colonoscopies. Current guidelines suggest that the first screening should be at age 40 or at an age 10 years younger than the first family member who developed colon cancer, whichever is younger. After an initial colonoscopy, your physician will recommend repeat colonoscopies depending on the findings.
Be Aware of Conditions That Are Associated With Increased Risk of Colon Cancer
Some forms of colon cancer have a strong hereditary basis. If you have a strong family history of colon cancer or familial polyposis of the colon, you are at increased risk of colon cancer and may wish to explore how best to manage that risk with your physician. Likewise, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease, also increases risk. Good management of IBD is critical to avoiding the development of colon cancer.
National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/ .
Last reviewed February 2009 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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