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Colon Cancer


Inhibiting the development of polyps and cancers, finding and removing premalignant polyps, and testing individuals at high risk may reduce colon cancer-related morbidity and mortality. Colon cancer occurs less commonly in individuals whose diets are high in calcium and folate, who take multivitamins, and who maintain high-fiber and low-fat diets.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin may reduce the numbers of polyps, particularly in families with FAP. Colonoscopy can identify polyps that may be premalignant and can facilitate polyp removal. It is recommended that all individuals have a colonoscopy at age fifty. Highrisk patients, such as those with inflammatory bowel disease, FAP, or HNPCC, should have screening initiated at an earlier age and repeat exams at shorter time intervals.

David E. Loren

and Michael L. Kochman


Giardiello, Francis M., Jill D. Brensinger, and Gloria M. Petersen. "AGA Technical Review on Hereditary Colorectal Cancer and Genetic Testing." Gastroenterology 121 (2001): 198-213.

Yamada, Tadataka, et al., eds. Textbook of Gastroenterology, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1999.

Internet Resource

"The Burden of Gastrointestinal Diseases." American Gastrointestinal Association. May 2001. <http://www.gastro.org/pdf/burden-report.pdf>.

Additional topics

Medicine EncyclopediaGenetics in Medicine - Part 1Colon Cancer - Developing Cancer, Major Genes Involved, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (fap), Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colon Cancer - Other Risk Factors