It’s known that your risk of colon cancer increases as you age, but what can you do to protect yourself besides getting a colonoscopy? (Usually colorectal cancer screening starts at age 50 with a colonoscopy or other test.) Luckily, the same steps that can help you prevent the disease can also help you maintain heart health. For example, it's a good idea to limit your intake of red meat because it's high in artery-clogging saturated fat (which is bad for your heart) and is linked to great risk of colon cancer.
Other general health tips, like steering clear of smoking and exercising on the regular, are linked to a lower risk of this type of cancer. While taking low-dose aspirin can also lower colorectal cancer risk, it's not for everyone because it can upset the stomach and cause bleeding. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in 2016 that low-dose aspirin may be an option for people aged 50-59 who have an elevated heart risk and are willing to take it daily for 10 years or more, but it's not clear if daily low-dose aspirin is smart for people under 50 or 70 or older.
To learn more about colon cancer prevention, watch the video.
Don’t have time to watch? Read the full transcript:
Don't smoke: Smokers are 18% more likely to be diagnosed as non-smokers.
Avoid meat: Diets heavy in red and processed meats are linked to cancer risk.
Exercise: Regular workouts lower the risk of having colon cancer by 25%.
Take an aspirin: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, are thought to lower risk.
Avoid excess alcohol: People who have 2-3 drinks a day have a 21% higher risk than people who drink less or not at all.
Blast belly fat: Obesity, particularly belly fat, has been linked to a higher risk.
Get screened: Testing usually starts at age 50, so see your doctor.