Colon cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States, and the entire world. It is the second most fatal cancer in the United States, causing tens of thousands of deaths every year, with close to two hundred thousand new diagnoses. Colon cancer prevention is therefore a subject of interest to people everywhere.
The good news about colon cancer is that it is a very preventable disease. Colon cancer prevention has traditionally been focused on maintaining a healthy diet, and this is still recommended today. Diets high in fiber, and low in fatty foods and red meat are linked to a reduced risk of developing colon cancer. Fish and poultry are not linked to an increase risk, and some supplements such as calcium and selenium have been shown to lower your risk. There have also been some studies suggesting that aspirin may help lower your risk of colon cancer.
Many cases of colon cancer are linked to an inherited condition that leads to the growth of hundreds of what are called polyps along your colon and rectum. Polyps are normally benign, but if you are a polyp grower there is an extremely high likelihood that one or more will become cancerous in your lifetime. If you have had close relatives that have developed colon cancer, there is a good chance you may be a polyp grower.
The best colon cancer prevention is therefore focused on catching it early. You can’t always prevent a polyp from becoming cancerous, but if you catch it early there is a very high survival rate (over 90%). Getting a regular colonoscopy exam is probably the best form of colon cancer prevention you could ever do for yourself. Even if you are not a ‘polyp’ grower, getting a colonoscopy once every five years vastly reduces your odds of dying from colon cancer. The exams are of course uncomfortable to say the least, but colon cancer is a lot more uncomfortable.
The biggest reason why colon cancer kills so many people every year isn’t because it is such a deadly form of cancer, but rather because people aren’t aware of colon cancer prevention measures like colonoscopys. Or they may be aware of preventative measures, but just don’t believe that they’ll ever get the disease themselves. Another good colon cancer prevention technique is therefore educating yourself and the people you know about it!