You can greatly reduce your risk of colon polyps and colorectal cancer by having regular screenings. Certain lifestyle changes also can help:

  • Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Reduce your fat intake.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Don't use tobacco.
  • Stay physically active and maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Talk to your doctor about calcium. Studies have shown that increasing your consumption of calcium may help prevent recurrence of colon adenomas. But it isn't clear whether calcium has any protective benefits against colon cancer.
  • Talk to your doctor about aspirin. Regular aspirin use may reduce your risk of polyps. But aspirin use can increase your risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, so check with your doctor beforehand.
  • Consider your options if you're at high risk. If you have a family history of colon polyps, consider having genetic counseling. If you've been diagnosed with a hereditary disorder that causes colon polyps, you'll need regular colonoscopy starting in young adulthood.
Aug. 12, 2014