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7 Strategies that Protect Against Colon Cancer
Each year, cancer of the colon or rectum is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S. But the outlook is bright: Experts are studying many ways to prevent this cancer that attacks the digestive system.
Recently, there has been about a 51% increase in colorectal cancer among those younger than age 50. Choices you make today could protect you against this disease.
6 lifelong habits
Research shows that the following tactics may help prevent colon cancer:
Maintain a healthy weight and participate in regular physical activity.
Limit your intake of red meat and animal fats.
Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Curb your alcohol consumption.
Quit (or never start) smoking cigarettes.
Take calcium supplements.
The 7th strategy: Screenings
Colon cancer may cause symptoms, including:
But colon cancer does not always produce symptoms, especially at first. That’s why regular screenings are so important. The American Cancer Society recommends people with an average risk for colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45, while the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises beginning screening at age 50. If you have an increased risk for colorectal cancer, you may need to get tested at an earlier age. People at increased risk include:
Individuals with a personal or family history of colon cancer or polyps, which are precancerous growths in the colon or rectum
Anyone with inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
Talk with your healthcare provider about when to begin screening and which test is best for you. Screening options include:
Online Medical Reviewer:
Brian McDonough, MD
Date Last Reviewed:
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