Scientists and researchers learn new information every day to keep us healthier. One of the best measures a patient can take is preventative medicine, meaning the patient attempts to eliminate potential risk factors for certain diseases. When it comes to colorectal cancer, prevention is exceedingly important, as colon cancer is one of the deadliest cancers. As the disease shows very little by way of symptoms until the advanced stages, it is often hard to detect there’s a problem until the cancer has spread. However, there are definite steps patients can take to help prevent against colon cancer. Read on to learn about methods to help prevent colorectal cancer, and when to talk to your doctor before beginning a new regimen.
Prevention is better understood by knowing the risk factors associated with colorectal cancer. One of the most significant risks associated with colon cancer is family history. If you have had a first-degree relative (or even second-degree) with a colon cancer diagnosis, your yearly colonoscopies should begin well before the recommended first screening at age 45. Other risk factors are behavioral in nature. Heavy drinking is associated with instances of colon cancer, as is smoking. Red and processed meats are also strongly correlated with colorectal cancer, particularly in women. Obesity is also a factor. Patients are advised to aid in the prevention of colon cancer by eating a healthy diet low in processed and red meat, exercising regularly, limiting or quitting alcoholic drinking, and quitting smoking.
Scientists and researchers are involved with new studies every day when it comes to understanding, treating, preventing, and looking for a cure for colon cancer. It is estimated that over 140,000 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed over the next year, which is a concerning amount. Recently, scientists have discovered a link between the reduction of the growth of polyps (which are often indicative of colon cancer) and the ingestion of both omega-3 fatty acid and aspirin.
The study found that patients who took aspirin every day for over a year had 22 percent fewer polyps overall than those who did not. Also, patients who took eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which is an omega-3 fatty acid, had 25 percent fewer polyps on the left side of the large bowel, and 9 percent fewer polyps overall. So, what does this mean exactly in regard to colon cancer prevention?
The two best ways currently to prevent colon cancer include living a healthy lifestyle overall (diet, exercise, little or no drinking, no smoking, overall healthy weight) and being screened regularly. It’s important to read new research carefully and talk to your doctor so that you can make an informed decision about trying a new regimen. For example, this latest study only shows a potential, mild correlation between the ingestion of EPA and aspirin and the prevention of colon cancer. The only thing that’s been proven so far is that some patients experienced the formation of fewer polyps.
It can be dangerous to begin a new regimen based on something you’ve read without speaking to your doctor. Aspirin can be a dangerous substance for those who are at risk, such as older adults. Aspirin has been associated with bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract and brain in some elderly patients. If you are looking for ways to help prevent colon cancer, it’s best to talk these concerns over with your doctor first.
If you need more information about scheduling your first colorectal cancer screening, or you are experiencing other gastrointestinal disturbances, book an appointment at Carolina Digestive Health Associates today. With eight office locations and five endoscopy centers, we have your convenience and health in mind.