Harvard Women's Health Watch

By the way, doctor: How much aspirin should I take to reduce my risk for colon cancer?

Q. I keep hearing that aspirin can help prevent colon cancer, but I have no idea how much I should take. Can you help? I've had adenomatous polyps in the past.

A. You've already taken an important step in reducing your risk of colon cancer: you know that you've had adenomatous polyps. About two-thirds of colon polyps are adenomas. While most adenomas don't turn into colorectal cancer, most colorectal cancers do begin as adenomas. Early detection and removal of these polyps reduces your risk of developing colon cancer.

The best way to prevent colon cancer is regular screening after age 50, preferably with colonoscopy, which not only finds polyps but also removes them. Lifestyle measures can also help. These include getting regular physical activity, not smoking, and eating a diet rich in plant foods (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and low in red and processed meats and alcohol.

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