Understanding Your Risks & How to Reduce Them
Colorectal cancer screening saves lives by finding precancerous polyps—abnormal growths in the colon or rectum—and removing them before they turn into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage when treatment works best. Doctors generally recommend that people with an average risk of colon cancer begin screening around age 45. But people with an increased risk, such as those with a family history of colon cancer or African-American heritage, should consider screening sooner. Most insurance plans and Medicare help pay for colorectal cancer screening for people who are 45 years old or older. Check with your insurance plan to find out what benefits are covered for colorectal cancer screening.
Medical experts often recommend a diet low in animal fats and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to reduce the risk of other chronic diseases, such as coronary artery disease and diabetes. This diet also may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
Some studies suggest that people may reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer by increasing physical activity, limiting alcohol consumption, and avoiding tobacco.