The good news for your colon and your rectum is that colorectal cancer is usually preventable. The number one way to prevent it is to get screened. Most men should begin colorectal cancer screening at age 50. If you have colorectal cancer in your family or other risk factors, tell your doctor. You may need screening at a younger age.
Several screening methods are proven to reduce colorectal cancer rates:
- Colonoscopy: You've probably heard of this procedure. The downside of it is that a flexible tube about the thickness of a finger is inserted into your anus. The plus side is that it can save your life. Your gastroenterologist (gut doctor) can usually see and remove polyps or cancer before it spreads. If your colon is "clean," you probably won’t need another colonoscopy for several years.
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: This scaled-down version of a colonoscopy is another reasonable option.
- Fecal Occult Blood Test: This involves you smearing stool on a paper card and bringing it to your doctor each year. Your gift is then checked for blood, because colorectal cancers often bleed. Blood in your stool usually earns you a colonoscopy, to look for cancer.
The most recent figures show that the incidence and death rate of colorectal cancer is 35% higher in men than in women. Also, a 2006 study showed that men were more likely to develop polyps and cancer earlier than women. Therefore, early screening may be even more important for men's health.
Some of the other things men can do today to start lowering colorectal cancer risk are:
- Eating like a hunter-gatherer, not a caveman. Cut back on the red meat, like burgers and steaks. Instead, fill up on more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. These changes alone could reduce your risk by about 50%.
- Getting off the couch. Active men get less colorectal cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends 30 minutes of activity five days a week.
- Quitting smoking and limit drinking. Keep alcohol to one or two drinks a day.
This answer should not be considered medical advice...This answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.
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