How can I prevent getting colon cancer?

James D. Lewis, MD, MSCE
Last Modified: June 23, 2002


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
How can I prevent getting colon cancer?  


James D. Lewis, MD, MSCE, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Senior Scholar at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Senior Fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

The most important step one can take to minimize their risk of either developing or dying from colon cancer is to enroll in a colon cancer screening program. Screening can be performed by testing stool for the presence of blood or by visualizing all or a portion of your colon either with x-rays or with endoscopy. Early detection and removal of precancerous polyps can dramatically reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. There are some colon cancer prevention clinical trials that are currently under way. Please visit the OncoLink/NCCRA colorectal cancer prevention database and register to be considered for colorectal cancer prevention trials.