There is substantial evidence that colorectal cancer is, after lung cancer, one of the most preventable of the common cancers. Increased BMI among men along with a sedentary lifestyle among both sexes is strongly implicated. The precise dietary patterns associated with increased risk are less clear, but there is evidence of an elevated risk with higher red meat consumption and a reduced risk with higher intake of plant foods and calcium. Evidence links the over-the-counter drugs, aspirin and NSAIDs, as well as prescription postmenopausal hormones, to a reduced risk. Vitamin supplements, perhaps as simple as multivitamins containing 400 micrograms of folic acid, may also reduce risk. Because there is a known precursor lesion (the adenomatous polyp), that is detectable at endoscopy, screening and early detection are feasible, effective, and reduce mortality. Incidence and mortality of this disease could be substantially reduced through a combination of lifestyle and social changes.
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