There is no single cause of colon cancer. Did you know that early on, nearly all colon cancers begin as noncancerous (benign) polyps, which then slowly develop into cancer? That’s right – most colon cancers are preventable, if diagnosed early enough. Yet people still die from this illness, the largest group being African American men.
RELATED: Tips For Colon Cancer Prevention
You have a higher risk for colon cancer if you:
• Are older than 60
• Are African American (and currently live in the United States)
• Eat a diet high in red or processed meats
• Have cancer elsewhere in the body
• Have colorectal polyps
• Have inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
• Have a family history of colon cancer
• Have a personal history of breast cancer
Here are some of the best steps you can take to prevent colon cancer:
1. Get screened for colon cancer
People with an average risk of colon cancer can consider screening beginning at age 50. But people with an increased risk, such as those with a family history of colon cancer, should consider screening sooner. African-Americans and American Indians may begin colon cancer screening at age 40.
Several screening options exist — each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Talk about your options with your doctor, and together you can decide which tests are appropriate for you.
2. Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may play a role in cancer prevention.
Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables so that you get an array of vitamins and nutrients.
RELATED: Foods That May Ward Off Colon Cancer
3. Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.