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37 Ways to Cut Your Cancer Risk, According to Science

Reader's Digest Logo By Tina Donvito of Reader's Digest | Slide 1 of 37: One sure-fire way to prevent cancer: Stay up to date with recommended screenings. Although rates of colon cancer deaths have been dropping due to improved screening programs, it's estimated that <a href='https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/colorectalcancerscreening/index.html'>1 in 3 adults</a> over 50 aren't being tested as they should. 'Screening for colorectal cancer is the most important way to lessen one's cancer risk,' says Ashwin Ashok, MD, a gastroenterologist at PIH Health in Whittier, California. Although there are other tests like X-rays, CT scans, or testing on stool, the colonoscopy remains the 'gold standard,' Dr. Ashok says. 'The benefit of a colonoscopy is that it can actually prevent colon cancer,' he says. 'During a colonoscopy, pre-cancerous lesions called polyps can be identified and removed.' Colonoscopies aren't fun—they're done under sedation and you have to empty your bowels completely ahead of time—but they can reduce your cancer risk. 'If we can achieve <a href='https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/impact-of-achieving-80-by-2018-screening-goal.html'>80 percent screening</a> by 2018, 277,000 fewer people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 203,000 lives will be saved by 2030,' Dr. Ashok says. Here are <a href='http://www.rd.com/health/conditions/3-colon-cancer-signs-you-might-be-ignoring/1'>three colon cancer signs you might be ignoring</a>.

Get a colonoscopy

Cancer is the number two killer in America, second only to heart disease. What can you do to reduce your chances of getting this deadly condition? You have more control than you might imagine.

One sure-fire way to prevent cancer: Stay up to date with recommended screenings. Although rates of colon cancer deaths have been dropping due to improved screening programs, it's estimated that 1 in 3 adults over 50 aren't being tested as they should. 'Screening for colorectal cancer is the most important way to lessen one's cancer risk,' says Ashwin Ashok, MD, a gastroenterologist at PIH Health in Whittier, California. Although there are other tests like X-rays, CT scans, or testing on stool, the colonoscopy remains the 'gold standard,' Dr. Ashok says. 'The benefit of a colonoscopy is that it can actually prevent colon cancer,' he says. 'During a colonoscopy, pre-cancerous lesions called polyps can be identified and removed.' Colonoscopies aren't fun—they're done under sedation and you have to empty your bowels completely ahead of time—but they can reduce your cancer risk. 'If we can achieve 80 percent screening by 2018, 277,000 fewer people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 203,000 lives will be saved by 2030,' Dr. Ashok says.
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