Colonoscopy checks the colon for hidden signs of cancer, called polyps. Polyps are growths that could eventually develop into tumors, though relatively few do. The doctor removes polyps during a colonoscopy. After removal of polyps, a procedure called polypectomy, a person must return for a follow-up colon exam in three, five, or 10 years, depending on the number and types of growths that the doctor found and removed. A healthy diet can help prevent cancer. Daily low-dose aspirin, which many people already take to prevent heart attacks, and a diet rich in bone-strengthening calcium, may also reduce overall colon cancer risk.
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