The American Cancer Society estimates that over 145,000 US citizens will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2019. More than 50,000 will die from it. While this number is decreasing, it’s important to understand why this disease is so prevalent and what you can do to reduce your chances of diagnosis. A new study performed in the United Kingdom provides interesting data that may be helpful if you are at risk for colorectal cancer.

The Research

A clinical trial, known as the seAFOod Trial, was led by specialists from universities through the UK. The universities included Leeds, Nottingham, Bradford, and Newcastle. The research attempted to show the effects aspirin and omega-3 had on colon cancer polyps. The goal was to indicate whether or not this medication would significantly reduce the number of polyps found in the colon which in turn reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. 

The trial included 709 adults across 53 hospitals in England who were at a high risk of colon cancer. The participants were then divided into four groups and monitored for one year. Group one received 300 milligrams of aspirin every day. Group two received 2 grams of EPA, a fatty acid contained in omega-3. Group three received a combination of both aspirin and EPA. Group four received a placebo. Over the course of the year, participants took their pill(s) daily and scheduled regular colonoscopies.

The Research Results

At the conclusion of one year, the participants who daily took an aspirin had 22% fewer polyps than those in the placebo group. While the results are not significant, participants who were given EPA on a daily basis had 9% fewer polyps compared to the placebo group. This research indicates that aspirin and omega-3 may reduce your risk for colon cancer. However, further investigations are necessary. 

With any medication, there are side effects and other health risks. EPA can cause stomach problems when taken in large quantities. Over time, aspirin can lead to an increased risk in internal bleeding. If you want more information about this research or have questions about whether aspirin therapy is right for you, contact Dr. Sameer Islam. You should never self-diagnose or self-prescribe aspirin therapy.

Other Ways to Reduce Your Cancer Risk

There are several other ways you can reduce your risk for colorectal cancer. You can adjust your diet and consume a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that will give you a variety of vitamins and nutrients. Eat whole-grains and foods that are high in fiber. Drink alcohol in moderation and avoid it completely if possible. Women should consume no more than one drink in a 24-hour period and men, a maximum of two. Exercise regularly, at least thirty minutes most days of the week. Stop smoking. If you need help, talk to your doctor about various options that will help you break the addiction. 

Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise. Obesity increases your risk of colon cancer. If you have trouble losing weight, or keeping it off, we offer three weight loss programs that might be right for you. Learn more about Obalon, ReShape, and Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty, or check out the free weight loss resource written by Dr. Islam. The best way to prevent a colon cancer diagnosis is to schedule a regular screening. Colonoscopies can detect cancer in the early—most easily treatable—stage. It can also determine the presence of polyps and remove them before they become cancerous. 

If you are over the age of 45 or have a family history of colorectal cancer, schedule a colonoscopy today. Sameer Islam is the best gastroenterologist in the Lubbock, TX area. If you have questions about your risk for colorectal cancer or other GI problems you are experiencing, make an appointment with us today.

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