March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Families, individuals and organizations are encouraged to spread the word about what steps to take to prevent colorectal cancer…and for a good reason.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in the U.S., and is also one of the leading causes of death from cancer. All ethnic and racial groups are affected, but it mainly targets people over the age of 50.
Being educated, staying active and getting screened are important for colon cancer (colorectal cancer) prevention. There are also certain foods you can take to help reduce your risk of colon cancer:
- Eat fiber-rich foods: For every 10 grams of fiber in your diet, your risk of colon cancer drops by 10 percent.
- Limit consumption of red meat and processed meat: This includes limiting bacon, hot dogs, sausages and deli meats. Processed meats increase the risk of colon cancer—twice as much as red meat!
- Limit your alcohol intake: Men, for example, shouldn’t drink more than two drinks a day and women shouldn’t drink more than one drink per day.
- Add more garlic to your diet: Research shows that a garlic-rich diet reduces the risk of colon cancer.
Aspirin Could Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk
According to research recently published in the journal JAMA Oncology, taking aspirin can also help to reduce your overall cancer risk. Report authors suggest that taking aspirin complements healthy eating and cancer screenings when it comes to cancer prevention—in particular colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal tumors.
Researchers looked at three decades worth of data gathered from over 136,000 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study and the follow-up study. Participants who used aspirin regularly (an aspirin tablet at least twice a week) had a three percent lower risk of developing cancer compared to those who didn’t report using aspirin regularly. Researchers saw a reduction of colorectal cancer by 19 percent and gastrointestinal cancer by 15 percent for those who took aspirin on a regular basis.
Sources for Today’s Article:
“March, Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month,” healthfinder.gov; https://healthfinder.gov/nho/MarchToolkit.aspx, last accessed March 13, 2016.
Preidt, R., “Six Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Colon Cancer,” U.S. National Library of Medicine web site, March 8, 2016; https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_157658.html.
Cao, Y., et al., “Population-wide Impact of Long-term Use of Aspirin and the Risk for Cancer,” JAMA Oncology, published online March 3, 2016; doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.6396.