What are ways a person can reduce their risk of colon cancer?

For most people colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, particularly if they follow their doctor’s recommended screening guidelines.

According to the National Cancer Institute, if found early, colon cancer is almost 90 percent curable because the polyps that eventually lead to cancer may be detected and removed. The No. 1 way to lower your risk of colon cancer is to get screened.

There are certain risk factors for colon cancer that cannot be changed which include being older than 50; having a family history of colon cancer or polyps; cancer of the ovary, endometrium or breast; ulcerative colitis; Crohn’s disease, and some hereditary conditions, like familial adenomatous polyposis and nonpolyposis colon cancer.

Because of these unavoidable risk factors it is important to lower your risk through ways you can control.

According to the NCI preventative measures, in addition to screening, include changing lifestyle or eating habits.

Smoking, obesity, drinking alcohol, and lack of exercise are risk factors for certain cancers. s

It is important for people to quit smoking, eat healthy, limit alcohol intake and exercise.

Taking medicine for a precancerous condition is another preventative measure; talk to your doctor about how this can decrease your risk for colorectal cancer.

For more information contact Courtney Britton, librarian at Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge at (225) 927-2273, cbritton@cancerservices.org , or visit the Education Center at 550 Lobdell Ave., Baton Rouge.

ä Internet Resources:

Colon Cancer Prevention PDQ – NCI


Colon Cancer Prevention – Mayo Clinic


This column is presented as a service by Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, a United Way affiliate.