A regular dose of aspirin can help prevent new colon polyps in patients with a history of polyps or colon cancer, according to an analysis of four clinical trials. The studies found a 17% reduced risk of polyps and a 28% lower risk for advanced lesions among patients taking aspirin for at least one year.
Age is a major factor in determining if you need a colonoscopy. Current recommendations suggest the colon cancer screen for people age 50 and older, and earlier for those with a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease. Acute symptoms, such as rectal bleeding, change in bowel frequency, constipation, abdominal pain, loss of appetite or weight loss are reasons to see your physician.
Men and women who regularly exercise can reduce their risk of colon cancer by up to 24%, according to a review of 52 studies. Researchers said they hope the findings encourage people to adopt a more healthy, active lifestyle. Exercise can reduce bowel inflammation and helps to lower levels of insulin and other hormones that can fuel the growth of cancer tumors.
An online colorectal cancer risk assessment tool developed by the National Cancer Institute only works for whites. When blacks or other minorities type in their ethnic status, a text appears that tells them the risk calculations are only accurate for non-Hispanic whites ages 50 to 85 and refers them to another Web site. The NCI says it is modifying the tool, but initial data used to create the program came mostly from older white patients.
The National Policy Board of US Oncology has approved its Principles for Reforming Cancer Care, which call for patients to have access to local, integrated outpatient care, clear information on their prognosis, the best quality drugs, and clinical trials. For physicians, the recommendations call for payment policies that encourage high quality care and the use of health IT.