Colon Cancer Prevention
Colon Cancer Prevention
Clinical Services Department MC-21
- What is Colon Cancer?
• Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control.
• Colon cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the large intestine (colon). The colon is the final part of the digestive tract.
• It usually begins as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called polyps that form on the inside of the colon. Over time some of these polyps can become colon cancers.
• Colon cancer is sometimes called colorectal cancer, which is a term that combines colon cancer and rectal cancer, which begins in the rectum.
• Colon cancer typically affects older adults, though it can happen at any age.
- Colon Cancer Statistics:
• Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of death from cancer in the United States (U.S.).
• The number of new colorectal cancers and deaths from colorectal cancer in the U.S. are higher in African Americans than in other races. The amount of new cases and number deaths is decreasing every year in adults aged 55 and older, although those who are younger than 55 years old have exhibited a slow increase in new cases.
• In Puerto Rico (P.R.), the incidence of colon and rectum cancer in male and female patients is 13.1% and 13.2%, respectively.
• Mortality rates for colon and rectum cancer in P.R. account for over 13% of the population.
- Colon Cancer Risk Factors:
• Older age – Colon cancer can be diagnosed at any age, but a majority of people with colon cancer are older than 50 years.
• African-American race – this population is at greatest risk than people from other races
• Inflammatory intestinal conditions – such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
• Family history or personal history of colon cancer
• Previous ovarian cancer
• A sedentary lifestyle
• Drinking alcohol – 3 or more alcoholic beverages per day increases the risk
• Radiation therapy for cancer that is directed to the abdomen
- Colon Cancer Prevention Strategies:
• Screening for colorectal cancer
o The most effective way to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer is to get screened for colorectal cancer routinely, beginning at age 50.
• Polyp removal
o Regular screening tests can help prevent colon cancer by identifying and removing polyps before they turn into cancer.
o Removing colorectal polyps that are larger than 1 centimeter (pea-sized) may lower the risk of colorectal cancer.
• Do not smoke. If you smoke, quit smoking.
• Do not drink alcohol or drink in moderation.
o The American Cancer Society recommends no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.
• Exercise regularly.
• Eat a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
• Watch your weight – being overweight or obese increases the risk of getting and dying from colorectal cancer.
• Use of low dose aspirin
o Can help in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer.
o The use of daily aspirin may result in an increased risk of stroke and bleeding in the stomach and intestines.
o Consult with your physician prior to initiating treatment with aspirin.
- For Additional Information on Colon Cancer Prevention:
• American Cancer society: www.cancer.org
• National Cancer Institute: www.cancer.gov
• Mayo Clinic: www.mayoclinic.org
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/cancer
• Medline Plus: www.medlineplus.gov