Medical experts agree that the most effective way to prevent colorectal cancer is early detection and the removal of pre-cancerous polyps before they can become cancerous. Even if cancer is present in its early stages, surgical removal is necessary before the malignancy can spread to other organs in the body.
Current research is also finding that regular physical activity is important in lowering your risk for colon cancer and aspirin has also been found to lower risk. In postmenopausal women, hormone replacement therapy with estrogen and progestin has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer but there are risks associated with this type of therapy and the pros and cons should be discussed with your doctor.
There are blood tests available to test for hereditary colon cancer syndromes. Families that include multiple members who have been treated for different kinds of cancers, especially at a young age, can take advantage of genetic counseling and testing. This kind of testing will help identify family members at high risk for colon cancer so that colonoscopies to detect cancerous growths can begin at an earlier age. High risk members can also start at a younger age to have ultrasound tests for uterine cancer, urine exams for ureter cancer and upper endoscopies for stomach or duodenal cancers.
There has also been extensive research on food habits and diets as they relate to colon cancer. It has generally been found that reducing fat intake and increasing fiber or roughage in your diet has a positive effect on your health. Because not all fat is unhealthy, it is best to limit your intake of meats, eggs, dairy products, highly caloric salad dressings, mayonnaise and some oils used in cooking. Fiber - the undigested and insoluble remains of plant material in fruits, vegetables and whole grain breads and cereals - can help rid the intestine of potential carcinogens. It may also lead to a faster transit of fecal material through the intestine which allows less time for carcinogens to react with the intestinal lining.