Colon cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in U.S. men and women. It is the 2nd most common cause of cancer death. While some people inherit a higher risk for colon cancer, most people who get colon cancer have no family history of the disease.
Exercising, quitting smoking, and controlling your cholesterol and blood pressure lower your risk of a heart attack, but reducing your risk of colon cancer is not as easy.
You may see news on the Internet or television about the latest thing that will prevent cancer. Proving that certain foods, vitamins, or minerals cut your risk of colon cancer takes a lot of research. We need several studies to agree before we know what will help you.
When I talk to my patients, I want them to know what works, what doesn’t work, and where we need more research.
May lower your risk (but needs more research)
o Eating less fat
o Eating less red meat
o Eating lots of fiber, fruits, and vegetables
o Eating garlic
o Avoiding excess alcohol
o Quitting smoking
o Regular exercise
• Vitamins, minerals, and medicines
o Vitamin B6 (high doses)
o Vitamin D
o Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
They can also cause stomach and intestinal bleeding, so you should talk to your doctor before you try them
o Metformin (diabetes medicine)
Does not lower your risk
• Beta carotene
• Folic acid
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin C
• Statin drug (cholesterol lowering drugs)
Increases your risk
• Obesity (having a body mass index for 30 or more)
• Vitamin E
The best way to avoid getting colon cancer is to get screened by your doctor.