Colon cancer

  • Alternative Names

    Colorectal cancer; Cancer - colon; Rectal cancer; Cancer - rectum; Adenocarcinoma - colon; Colon - adenocarcinoma


    Prevention

    The death rate for colon cancer has dropped in the last 15 years. This may be due to increased awareness and screening by colonoscopy.

    Colon cancer can almost always be caught by colonoscopy in its earliest and most curable stages. Almost all men and women age 50 and older should have a colon cancer screening. Patients at risk may need earlier screening.

    Colon cancer screening can often find polyps before they become cancerous. Removing these polyps may prevent colon cancer.

    For information, see:

    • Colon cancer screening
    • Colonoscopy

    Changing your diet and lifestyle is important. Some evidence suggests that low-fat and high-fiber diets may reduce your risk of colon cancer.

    Some studies have reported that NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, celecoxib) may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. However, these medicines can increase your risk for bleeding and heart problems. Most expert organizations do not recommend that most people take these medicines to prevent colon cancer. Talk to your health care provider about this issue.


    References

    Burt RW, Barthel JS, Dunn KB, et al. NCCN clinical practice guidelines in oncology. Colorectal cancer screening. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2010;8:8-61.

    Cunningham D, Atkin W, Lenz HJ, Lynch HT, Minsky B, Nordlinger B, et al. Colorectal cancer. Lancet. 2010;375:1030-1047.

    Smith RA, Cokkinides V, Brooks D, Saslow D, Brawley OW. Cancer screening in the United States, 2010: a review of current American Cancer Society guidelines and issues in cancer screening. CA Cancer J Clin. 2010;60:99-119.