Lower Your Risk for Colorectal Cancer the Safe Way

Feb 1, 2019 | Colon Cancer

Headlines can sound so promising, but they don’t always tell the whole story. In fact, they can often lead to more questions. A new study was recently conducted and the results suggest a radical preventative measure for colon cancer—a suggestion that, shockingly, is extremely affordable. However, it’s crucial to understand the risks involved should further research affirm this new proposal.

The Question at Hand

Is there an easy, yet effective, way to reduce the risk of colon cancer? This is the question specialists from the United Kingdom asked. So they forged ahead, creating seAFOod Trial, a clinical trial to determine if aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids would have an effect on precancerous polyps in the colon. The research was led by specialists from the universities of Leeds, Nottingham, Bradford, and Newcastle. 709 participants from 53 hospitals throughout England committed to taking designated medication every day for one year while regularly receiving a colonoscopy. The participants were each at high risk for colorectal cancer. Each participant was split into four groups and asked to take their pill(s) every day. One group received 300 milligrams of aspirin and another 2 grams of EPA, a fatty acid found in omega-3. The third group received a combination of omega-3 and aspirin while the fourth group received a placebo.

Is Aspirin the Answer?

The results of the clinical trial revealed that those in the group assigned to take aspirin showed 22% fewer polyps compared to the placebo group. The participants in the group who received EPA showed 9% fewer polyps than the placebo group. However, this is not substantial enough to determine if omega-3 reduces the risk of colon cancer. While the results are promising in favor of aspirin as a simple, affordable solution to reducing polyps, and therefore, reducing the risk of colon cancer, more research is required. Internal bleeding is a side-effect of too much aspirin over a long period of time. Aspirin therapy, as a solution to the threat of colorectal cancer, should be carefully considered by a GI doctor. If you have questions about your risk for colorectal cancer and whether or not aspirin is an appropriate route for you, talk to your doctor first.

The Safe Way

There are several safe and effective ways to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. Stop tobacco use, especially smoking cigarettes. Your doctor will be happy to help you find the best way to kick the habit. Maintain a healthy weight by exercising regularly and eating good foods. We recommend exercising at least thirty minutes a day. Choose whole-grains, foods that are high in fiber, and fresh fruits and vegetables. It is important for your diet to provide an array of vitamins and nutrients. You may also consider taking a daily vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant. Limiting your alcohol consumption will also help you reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.

If avoiding alcohol completely is not probable, women should consume a maximum of one drink a day and men should not consume more than two drinks in a day. You are also encouraged to schedule a regular colorectal cancer screening after you turn 45. A colonoscopy is the best way to prevent a cancer diagnosis. Colonoscopies detect polyps—precancerous growths in the intestine. Because there are no symptoms associated with polyps, a colonoscopy is the only way to detect—and remove—the polyps before they become cancerous.

If you believe you are at risk for colorectal cancer, talk to a GI specialist about preventative options today. If you are over the age of 45, or you have a family history of colorectal cancer, schedule your colonoscopy at Gastroenterology Consultants of Savannah. We have six convenient locations with skilled, board-certified gastroenterologists to address any of your GI issues.