Prevention of Colorectal Cancer
Overview of Prevention
Doctors cannot always explain why one person gets
Anything that increases a person?s chance of developing a disease is called a
Although many risk factors can be avoided, it is important to keep in mind that avoiding risk factors does not guarantee that you will not get cancer. Also, most people with a particular risk factor for cancer do not actually get the disease. Some people are more sensitive than others are to factors that can cause cancer. Talk to your doctor about methods of preventing cancer that might be effective for you.
Purposes of this summary
The purposes of this summary on
Give information on colorectal cancer and how often it occurs.
Describe colorectal cancer prevention methods.
Give current facts about which people or groups of people would most likely be helped by following colorectal cancer prevention methods.
You can talk to your doctor or health care professional about cancer prevention methods and whether they would be likely to help you.
Colorectal Cancer Prevention
Significance of colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The number of new cases of colorectal cancer in the United States has been decreasing slightly, and the number of deaths due to colorectal cancer has been decreasing. The risk of colorectal cancer tends to increase after the age of 40.
Colorectal cancer prevention
Colorectal cancer can sometimes be associated with known
Diet and Lifestyle:
Studies show colorectal cancer risk may be affected by the following factors:
Vitamin D: Studies show that taking 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily may cut the risk of colorectal cancer in half. Folic acid: High dosesof folic acid may help decrease colorectal cancer risk.
Physical activity: A lack of physical activity, especially combined with a diet high in fat, may increase colorectal cancer risk.
Obesity: In premenopausalwomen, obesity has been linked to an increased colorectal cancer risk.
Smoking: Cigarette smoking has been linked to increased colorectal cancer risk.
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol may increase colorectal cancer risk.
It is not known if taking
It is not known if a diet low in fat and high in
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: It is not known if the use of
Polyp Removal: Studies have shown that removing
Female Hormone Use: Studies show that
Statin Use: There is no evidence that
Changes to This Summary (02/20/2007)
Changes were made to this summary to match those made to the health professional version.
Questions or Comments About This Summary
If you have questions or comments about this summary, please send them to Cancer.gov through the Web site?s Contact Form. We can respond only to email messages written in English.
To Learn More
For more information, U.S. residents may call the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Deaf and hard-of-hearing callers with TTY equipment may call 1-800-332-8615. The call is free and a trained Cancer Information Specialist is available to answer your questions.
Web sites and Organizations
The NCI Web site provides online access to information on cancer, clinical trials, and other Web sites and organizations that offer support and resources for cancer patients and their families. There are also many other places where people can get materials and information about cancer treatment and services. Local hospitals may have information on local and regional agencies that offer information about finances, getting to and from treatment, receiving care at home, and dealing with problems associated with cancer treatment.
The NCI has booklets and other materials for patients, health professionals, and the public. These publications discuss types of cancer, methods of cancer treatment, coping with cancer, and clinical trials. Some publications provide information on tests for cancer, cancer causes and prevention, cancer statistics, and NCI research activities. NCI materials on these and other topics may be ordered online or printed directly from the NCI Publications Locator. These materials can also be ordered by telephone from the Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237), TTY at 1-800-332-8615.
The NCI's LiveHelp service, a program available on several of the Institute's Web sites, provides Internet users with the ability to chat online with an Information Specialist. The service is available from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. Information Specialists can help Internet users find information on NCI Web sites and answer questions about cancer.
For more information from the NCI, please write to this address:
NCI Public Inquiries Office
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Bethesda, MD 20892-8322
PDQ is a comprehensive cancer database available on NCI's Web site.
PDQ is the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) comprehensive cancer information database. Most of the information contained in PDQ is available online at NCI's Web site. PDQ is provided as a service of the NCI. The NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health, the federal government's focal point for biomedical research.
PDQ contains cancer information summaries.
The PDQ database contains summaries of the latest published information on cancer prevention, detection, genetics, treatment, supportive care, and complementary and alternative medicine. Most summaries are available in two versions. The health professional versions provide detailed information written in technical language. The patient versions are written in easy-to-understand, nontechnical language. Both versions provide current and accurate cancer information.
The PDQ cancer information summaries are developed by cancer experts and reviewed regularly.
Editorial Boards made up of experts in oncology and related specialties are responsible for writing and maintaining the cancer information summaries. The summaries are reviewed regularly and changes are made as new information becomes available. The date on each summary ("Date Last Modified") indicates the time of the most recent change.
PDQ also contains information on clinical trials.
People who are at high risk for a certain type of cancer may want to take part in a clinical trial. A clinical trial is a study to answer a scientific question, such as whether a certain drug or nutrient can prevent cancer. Trials are based on past studies and what has been learned in the laboratory. Each trial answers certain scientific questions in order to find new and better ways to help cancer patients and those who are at risk for cancer. During prevention clinical trials, information is collected about prevention methods, the risks involved, and how well they do or do not work. If a clinical trial shows that a new method is better than one currently being used, the new method may become "standard."
Listings of clinical trials are included in PDQ and are available online at NCI's Web site. Descriptions of the trials are available in health professional and patient versions. Many cancer doctors who take part in clinical trials are also listed in PDQ. For more information, call the Cancer Information Service 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237); TTY at 1-800-332-8615.