What Are the Best Tips for Colorectal Cancer Prevention?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2019
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The best tips for colorectal cancer prevention include undergoing regular screenings, maintaining good communication with one's doctor, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits. Individuals should inform their doctors about the existence of colorectal cancer in their families as well as any unusual symptoms that they may experience. Adopting a high-fiber diet, exercising, and losing weight can also have an impact on colorectal cancer prevention efforts. Other preventative measures may include the regular consumption of certain nutritional supplements as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin.

Perhaps the most effective form of colorectal cancer prevention is working with one's doctor to determine a good schedule of medical screenings for the condition. This is because colorectal cancer can be slow growing and the first signs of cell abnormality can precede the development of actual cancer by anywhere from 10 to 15 years. By catching the abnormal cells early, medical professionals can take steps to prevent the development of cancer. Patients should also discuss their family medical history with their doctor, who, depending on the existence of colorectal cancer among relatives, may recommend starting regular screenings at an earlier age or even genetic testing to identify markers of a susceptibility to the cancer.


Screenings include fecal occult blood testing, which is a simple and noninvasive procedure that people can perform at home or that doctors can perform in their office. This test identifies the presence of blood in stool, which can indicate a host of possible health problems, including colorectal cancer. Another common screening is a colonoscopy, in which a physician is able to use a small camera to view the inside of the patient's large intestine to identify polyps and other indications of possible colorectal cancer. A stool DNA test is a new screening tool recommended by some authorities for colorectal cancer prevention. In this test, the DNA found in a patient's stool is tested for abnormalities that may indicate cancer.

Healthy lifestyle habits can also assist in colorectal cancer prevention. There is some indication that a diet that is high in fiber can decrease a person's risk of developing colorectal cancer. Maintaining a healthy body weight, particularly for those who tend toward an apple shape, may also reduce cancer risk, as does maintaining a regular program of exercise and refraining from cigarette smoking. The daily use of aspirin, ibuprofen, or other NSAIDs may also have a protective effect, but there are other potential health risks that come with using these over-the-counter medications. Individuals interested in using these drugs as a form of colorectal cancer prevention should talk with their doctor before beginning to do so.


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