Colon Cancer Prevention
If you are trying to prevent colon cancer, it's important to minimize or eliminate the risk factors for the disease that can be controlled (such as smoking) while increasing the protective factors that decrease the chances of developing the cancer. Polyp removal may help prevent this type of cancer. Diet may also play a role.
An Overview of Preventing Colon CancerDoctors cannot always explain why one person gets cancer and another does not. However, scientists have studied the general patterns of cancer in the population to learn what things around us and what things we do in our lives may increase our chance of developing colon cancer.
Anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease is called a risk factor; anything that decreases a person's chance of developing a disease is called a protective factor.
Colon cancer prevention involves avoiding the risk factors and increasing the protective factors that can be controlled so that a person's chance of developing colon cancer decreases.
Colon Cancer Prevention: Know the Risk FactorsThe first step in preventing colon cancer is knowing what the risk factors are for the disease. Some of the colon cancer risk factors can be avoided, but many cannot. For example, people who inherit specific genes, such as the HNPCC gene, have a higher risk of developing colon cancer. High-risk genes are examples of risk factors that cannot be changed.
Studies have identified the following colon cancer risk factors:
- Colorectal polyps
- Family history of colon cancer
- Personal history of colon cancer
- Certain medical conditions, like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
- Certain diets (such as diets that are high in fat and low in fiber)
(Click Risk Factors for Colon Cancer for more information on risk factors for colon cancer.)
The next step is doing something about the risk factors you can control, such as your diet and smoking.