Colon Cancer Prevention

  • Medical Author:
    Dennis Lee, MD

    Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

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Colon Cancer Screening And Surveillance

Screening recommendations for individuals with average risk of colon cancer

The life-time risk for an adult American to develop colorectal cancer is approximately 6%. Fecal occult blood tests and flexible sigmoidoscopic examinations are the recommended screening tests for these individuals at average risk for developing colorectal cancer.

Quick GuideColorectal Cancer Pictures Slideshow: Understanding Cancer of the Colon

Colorectal Cancer Pictures Slideshow: Understanding Cancer of the Colon

Colon cancer prevention facts

  • Colon cancers may be both preventable and, if detected, still curable if found at an early stage and promptly treated.
  • Screening for colon cancer in asymptomatic people is recommended to begin at age 50.
  • Risk factors for colorectal cancers include a family history of colon polyps, genetic factors and certain lifestyle choices.
  • Colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy may treat and/or prevent colorectal cancers safely and effectively. Colon polyp removal is the most effective way to prevent colon cancer from occuring.
  • The new Cologuard test also may detect early precancerous and/or cancers of the colon safely and effectively, and thus allow invasive colonoscopy to become more of a treatment modality instead of a "test and treat if necessary procedure."
  • Treatments of patients to prevent colorectal cancer that may be effective in some individuals but may have long-term adverse side effects include any NSIAD therapy.
  • The use of two antioxidants, vitamins A and C, are apparently ineffective in reducing the incidence of colorectal cancer.
  • People with hereditary colon cancer syndromes should consider genetic testing
  • Genetic testing and counseling can help determine the possibility of early-onset of colorectal cancers and allow early treatments.
  • Lifestyle changes (high fruit/fiber diet, no smoking, weight loss, screening and genetic testing in some individuals) may help reduce and/or possibly even prevent some people from developing colorectal cancers.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/23/2016

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