Image © Juliet Wilkinson
Shame on me, it's a trick question. The answer is no. Nothing can keep the colonoscopy away - even if you have the shiny, healthy colon of a newborn babe. It's a screening test that can catch colon cancer in its earliest stages when the disease is most curable. Every one of us, if we are lucky to survive the decades, will need a colonoscopy for screening and disease prevention when we hit 50 (assuming you don't have any personal or family history of the disease).
So how does a simple aspirin fit into the picture? Ongoing research on using daily, long term aspirin therapy as a chemopreventive measure against colon cancer has favorable results. Chemoprevention is the name given to taking a drug before you have cancer to help avoid it, or slow its growth if you do develop the disease.
Aspirin belongs to a group of drugs called NSAIDS, which stands for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. Although you can step foot in any corner drug store and purchase the medication without a prescription, remember - it is still a medication and should not be taken daily on a whim or without your doctor's guidance.
Aspirin can have serious, life-limiting complications in certain people including severe gastrointestinal bleeding and irreversible kidney damage. Many people should not start taking this medication without their doctor's approval, especially if diagnosed with a chronic disease or on prescription medications.
While we sit and wait for studies to become conclusive (science still has not pinpointed the exact dosage or length of treatment required for aspirin use), consider using some solid, old-fashioned, no-medication-required colon cancer prevention: incorporate a healthy diet and exercise into your lifestyle starting today.