Colorectal Cancer: Eating Fish, And 8 Other Things That Could Lower Your Risk

Getting more fish in your diet could lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer, according to a new review of studies.

Researchers from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School looked at the research to find that people who ate fish as part of their regular diets have a 12 percent lower chance of developing colorectal cancer, than people who don't eat much fish at all, Reuters reported.

The association was stronger for rectal cancer, but a "modest trend" was still seen for colon cancer, according to the study, published in the American Journal of Medicine.

But "if you eat fish very frequently, it's not clear whether your benefit continues to go up (by eating even more)," study researcher Dr. Michael Gochfeld told.

Earlier this year, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that eating at least three servings of fish a week can lower women's risk of some kinds of colon polyps -- which can turn into cancer.

Researchers of that study, from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, said fish may work in this sense because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish can decrease inflammation, thereby lowering risk of colon polyp development.

Colorectal cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC, but the number of new cases and deaths are both decreasing, due to better treatment and early detection. While more adults are being screened, one in three adults still isn't getting screened for colorectal cancer when they should be.

Want to take action against colorectal cancer? Check out this foods and behaviors that are linked with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer, or its risk factors:

Eat Fiber From Whole Grains

Researchers from Britain and the Netherlands found that the more total dietary fiber and cereal fiber people consumed, the lower their colorectal cancer risk. For example, people who consumed an extra 90 grams of whole grains a day also had a 20 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer, according to the British Medical Journal review.

However, that same study didn't show a link between eating fiber from fruits and vegetables and a lowered colorectal cancer risk, meaning there may be something else in whole grains at work, too.

Take Aspirin

Researchers from the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands found that people who take aspirin once a day have a 30 percent decreased risk of dying from colorectal cancer, if taken for at least a nine-month period.

And, the benefit extended to after a person had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The researchers found that people who had already been diagnosed and who took aspirin had a 23 percent decreased risk of dying from the disease, compared with people who didn't take it at all.

Eat Chocolate (Maybe)

The Daily Mail reported on a study in mice, published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, showing that rats exposed to a carcinogen developed fewer colon cancer lesions than rats if they consumed high-cocoa diets.

"Being exposed to different poisons in the diet like toxins, mutagens and procarcinogens, the intestinal mucus is very susceptible to pathologies," study researcher Maria Angeles Martin Arribas, a researcher at the Institute of Food Science and Technology and Nutrition, said in a statement. "Foods like cocoa, which is rich in polyphenols, seems to play an important role in protecting against disease."

However, it's important to note that this effect was tested only on mice.

Consume Ginger Root

Research published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research showed that taking 2 grams of ginger root supplement every day might have colon cancer-preventing powers. The researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School found that taking ginger root supplements helped to minimize signs of inflammation of the colon, which has been connected to colon cancer.

Go To A Classical Music-Loving Doctor

A study from the University of Texas Health Science Center showed that doctors who conduct colonoscopies while listening to Mozart are more likely to find polyps, which can lead to colon cancer, ABC News reported. The study showed that polyp-detection increased to 36.7 percent from 27.16 percent when the doctors listened to Mozart.

Exercise Regularly

A study in the journal Cancer Causes & Control showed that people who exercise or play sports five or more times a week can lower their risk of developing colorectal cancer, compared with those who don't exercise regularly (or at all), Johns Hopkins University reported.

Why exercise might reduce colon cancer risk isn't well understood. It may be because exercise enhances the immune system or because it reduces levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factors, all of which have been associated with colon cancer risk.

Enjoy Some Berries (Maybe)

A study in mice showed that compounds called anthocyanins, found in black raspberries, seem to have powers at anti-colorectal cancer powers, MyHealthNewsDaily reported.

The berries may help to prevent cancer because of their "high antioxidant activity," study researcher Gary Stoner, of the College of Medicine at Ohio State University, told MyHealthNewsDaily; those antioxidants work to fight against DNA-damaging free radicals in the body.