Colorectal Cancer Prevention
- Screening: Men and women age 45 and older with an average risk for developing colorectal cancer should discuss the most appropriate screening test with their physician. Screening tests include annual guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT); multi-targeted stool DNA (MT-sDNA) test every three years; flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years; double-contrast barium enema every five to 10 years; virtual colonoscopy every five years; or colonoscopy every 10 years. Those with increased risk factors should consult their physician whether to begin screenings earlier than age 45. Those with symptoms or a positive test from another type of test should have a colonoscopy.
- Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy weight through a regular exercise schedule and healthy diet may decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Long-term smoking increases risk. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are linked to lower risk of colorectal cancer and polyps. However, these drugs can have serious side effects. You should talk with your physician before taking them specifically to lower your risk.
Colorectal Cancer Treatment
Main types of treatment for colorectal cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, proton therapy, chemotherapy, ablation, immunotherapy, targeted therapies, and palliative care. Specific needs may be addressed by surgeons, gastroenterologists, or medical or radiation oncologists. For complex treatments, a team of specialists may be involved.