Reducing The Risk Of Colorectal Cancer As We Age

Every year since 2000, March has been designated as National Colorectal Cancer Month, and the whole point of this designation is to help increase people’s awareness of the disease, so they can have it diagnosed early and treated while it’s still in a treatable phase. As with all forms of cancer, the earlier the disease is caught, the more likely that a full recovery can take place. If your family has a history of colorectal cancer, you might be inclined to take some steps to reduce your own risk of developing the disease. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the ways you might be able to lower your risk of contracting colorectal cancer, so you can live a longer, more productive life.

Screening for colorectal cancer

By far, the very best thing you can do to avoid contracting colorectal cancer is to have yourself screened for the disease each year after you’ve attained the age of 45 years old. Virtually all colorectal cancers begin in the rectum or colon as a pre-cancerous polyp, and yearly screening will detect these polyps so they can be removed or otherwise treated. It is entirely possible for polyps like these to be growing unnoticed in your body for years before they begin to develop into cancerous growths.

By having a regular screening, all such polyps can be detected and removed before they have a chance to develop into full-blown cancer. On your own, you would probably never be aware of the presence of pre-cancerous polyps, since they don’t usually involve any noticeable symptoms. Even if you get screened and find that there is a cancerous growth in the beginning stages, it can usually be removed safely through surgery, so the problem is completely overcome. 

Dietary restrictions

Many scientists and healthcare personnel believe that your diet has a significant impact on the potential for developing colorectal cancer. Medical experts will therefore generally advise you to minimize the presence of animal fats in your diet, while at the same time focusing more on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. This combination should help to reduce the risk of some chronic diseases like diabetes and coronary artery disease, and it’s also thought that this kind of favorable diet can be at least somewhat effective in lowering your risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Making healthy choices

This is admittedly a very broad area to address, but a number of studies have shown that there are certain healthy choices that can have a direct impact on reducing the likelihood of developing colorectal cancer. Therefore, it is recommended that people who wish to avoid this kind of undesirable development should increase their physical activity by engaging in a regular program of moderate exercise several times a week. This should contribute strongly toward maintaining a healthy weight, as opposed to being relatively sedentary and constantly gaining weight as you age. People who are relatively inactive tend to put on weight much more quickly than individuals who lead a very active lifestyle.

Another healthy thing you can do for yourself is to limit your intake of alcohol, which means dropping the habit of frequently engaging in alcohol consumption, and consuming relatively large quantities when you do. There’s no problem with having a glass of wine at meal times, but binge drinking is something that should be avoided so that better health can be maintained.

One last healthy choice that everyone should make as a means to avoiding cancer and other unpleasant physical developments is to eliminate the use of tobacco from their lifestyle. Any number of studies have shown conclusively that tobacco can be highly addictive because it contains nicotine, and that it can be very harmful to your lungs and other organs. There is no doubt that results are universally negative when you use tobacco products over an extended period of time.

Making these kinds of healthy choices will not necessarily safeguard you from developing colorectal cancer, but they will keep you healthier and reduce your vulnerability to developing this and other forms of cancer.

Taking aspirin regularly

There is considerable research underway at the present time to investigate the association between medicines and supplements and colorectal cancer. This new wave of research was triggered by the discovery referenced by the US Preventive Services Task Force which found that regularly taking aspirin in low doses could help significantly deter the development of cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer.

This discovery was found to be more prevalent in adults than in younger individuals, so it does depend on age and on some of the related risk factors that people in the survey were exposed to. The caveat to this is that aspirin usage is only recommended for individuals in the age group between 40 and 60. Once a person reaches the age of 60, it is not recommended to begin or continue a low-dose aspirin program so as to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or colorectal cancer.

Scroll to Top
Skip to content