Colorectal Cancer - Prevention
Some tests can prevent
colorectal cancer. Screening tests look for a certain
disease or condition before any symptoms appear. Experts recommend routine
colon cancer testing for everyone age 50 and older who has a normal risk for
colon cancer. Your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent testing if you have a higher risk for colon cancer. Talk to
your doctor about when you should be tested.
Fewer than half of
people who are older than 50 are screened for colorectal cancer. According to
the American Cancer Society, if everyone were tested, tens of thousands of
lives could be saved each year.
The following guidelines are for
people who do not have an increased risk for colorectal
Recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
- People ages 50 to 75 should have a fecal occult blood test
(FOBT), sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy.
- People who have a sigmoidoscopy every 5 years should also have a stool test (FOBT) at regular intervals.
- Some people older than 75
may benefit from screening tests. Others may not. Talk to your doctor about
continuing testing for colon cancer after age 75.
Recommendations from other groups
- The American Cancer Society (ACS), the American
Gastroenterological Association (AGA), and the American College of
Gastroenterologists (ACG) recommend routine testing for people age 50 and older
who have a normal risk for colon cancer. Your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent testing if you have a higher risk for colon cancer. Talk to your doctor about when you should be tested.
For more information, see:
- Colon Cancer: Which Screening Test Should I Have?
Here are other things you can do to help prevent colorectal
- Watch your weight. Being very overweight may increase your risk. And carrying extra fat around the waist seems to be more of a risk than carrying extra fat in the hips or thighs.
- Eat well.Healthy eating includes a variety of foods. Eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, poultry, and fish. And eat less red meat, refined grains, and sweets.
- Limit drinking. Drink less than 2 alcohol drinks a day. People who drink 2 or more alcohol drinks a day have a slightly higher risk
for colorectal cancer.1
- Get active. Keep up a physically active lifestyle. Being fit
leads to an improved sense of well-being, improved appearance, and
increased stamina and strength.
- Quit smoking. If you smoke cigarettes, quit smoking to reduce your risk.