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Importance of Colon Cancer Prevention


The average American has a five percent chance of developing colon cancer, the third most common form of cancer in men and women. Effective screening and prevention methods are available to help you avoid this dangerous disease.

Dignity Health offers many cancer services, from preventative care through treatment and beyond. Find a Doctor today to discuss strategies for colon cancer prevention in the Bay Area.

Know the Risk Factors for Colon Cancers

Doctors do not yet know exactly what causes colon cancer. The disease can affect anyone. However, certain risk factors increase the likelihood of developing colon cancer. These include: 

  • Family or personal history of colorectal polyps or colon cancer
  • Age — 90 percent of colon cancers are diagnosed in people 50 years or older
  • African American race
  • Genetics — genetic syndromes and mutations account for 10% of colon cancer cases
  • Personal history of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Type 2 diabetes

Obesity, not exercising, poor diet, heavy alcohol use, and smoking can also increase your risks of colon cancer.

How to Reduce Your Risk of Colon Cancers

Screening exams are one of the most effective strategies in preventing colon cancer from developing. Colonoscopy is often used to screen for colon cancer and other intestinal disorders. Your Dignity Health doctor will discuss what screening options are best in your specific case.

You can also reduce your risk of colon cancer by managing the factors you can control:

  • Eat a balanced diet with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get regular exercise, with moderate to vigorous activities most days of the week.

It may not be possible to prevent colon cancer in all cases. However, early detection provides the best chance of beating it. 

If you are over 50 years old and have not had a colonoscopy, schedule one today to give yourself the best chance of avoiding colon cancer. 

Dignity Health offers expert care and advanced diagnostic procedures for colon cancer prevention in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.