Colorectal cancer, commonly known as colon cancer, involves cancers of the rectum and colon. The cancer can begin as a small polyp, a benign growth found on the inner wall of the rectum or colon that can later become malignant. Read below to learn about several studies done on reducing your risk of colon cancer and to find out some easy tips on how to eat in favor of this irreplaceable part.
Andrew M. Seaman, writer for Medscape, reported in July about how long term aspirin use lowered the risk of colon cancer in women. A Women’s Health study found that women who took 100mg of aspirin every other day for 10 years or more had a 20% lower risk of the cancer after almost 20 years of follow-up. Dr. Eric Jacobs, strategic director of pharmacoepidemiology at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta commented on the results stating “…low-dose aspirin use does indeed lower risk of colorectal cancer, but this benefit does not ‘kick in’ until about 10 years after the start of regular use.” According to Seaman, Jacobs also warned that aspirin is a drug that can have significant side-effects and should not be used “specifically to prevent cancer.”
Seaman reported on a different study earlier in June that found patients diagnosed with colon cancer after routine colonoscopies tended to have less advanced cancers and better outcomes when fighting said cancers. The main point here being that routine checkups can help your doctor spot a potential cancerous polyp early and therefore remove it before it becomes malignant and is more difficult to remove.
Besides routine colonoscopies, your diet can also play a role in reducing your risk of colon cancer. Berkeley Wellness has compiled a list of risk reducing foods that recent research has shown may protect your colon.
Fiber: The Women’s Health Initiative found that a high fiber diet did not reduce colon cancer risk, however, another large study found that a very high fiber intake reduced exposure of the intestinal wall to cancer-causing carcinogens. While fiber is still being studied for more definitive answers, at least you’ll be preventing constipation.
Vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and other members of the cruciferous family are most likely to prevent colon cancer. Keep in mind that eating fruits, whole grains, and vegetables may lower the risk of getting any type of cancer.
Meats: Some evidence suggests that eating red meat can increase your risk because it is cooked at high temperatures, which, in turn can form cancer-promoting chemicals. Dietary fat, however, is no longer regarded as a cause of colon cancer.
Dairy: Calcium and vitamin D, whether you take them in supplement form or from food, can reduce precancerous polyps. A study found that a high intake of dairy products was also connected with reduced colon cancer risk.
Last but not least, smoking and tobacco greatly increases your risk of contracting colon cancer. Discuss the use of aspirin with your doctor, especially if members of your family have had colon cancer or polyps; and also because aspirin can have serious side effects. Exercise on a regular basis and lose weight if you’re overweight. Studies have shown that even in small amounts, exercise seems to be preventative. Keep in mind that age matters, and if you’re over 50 you should be receiving routine checkups.
Make sure to consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for all health related advice.
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