The Five Best Ways to Minimize Your Risk of Colon Cancer

Mar 13 • 2015

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so we want you to know the best ways to minimize your risk of colon cancer. Did you know almost 1 in 20 people will develop colon cancer at some point during their life? Some risk factors like genetics and age can’t be changed, but there are things you can address to make sure you are protecting your colon health.

  1. Eat a nutritious diet with a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Make sure you’re obtaining the fiber you need from food instead of supplements. Cut down on the amount of red meat like beef, pork, and lamb in your diet, as well as processed meats like hot dogs.
  2. Develop a regular exercise plan. People who are not physically active have a higher chance of developing colon cancer. By increasing your activity, you can lower your risk and become healthier overall.
  3. Manage your weight. People who are obese or overweight have a higher chance of developing colon cancer. By implementing a healthy diet and incorporating fitness into your life, you will more easily be able to control your weight and stay fit.
  4. Quit smoking. Non-smokers are less likely to develop colon cancer than long-term smokers. If you have tried to quit in the past and had trouble, get help from your doctor.
  5. Decrease your alcohol consumption. Heavy drinking has been linked to colon cancer. It is recommended than men should have no more than two drinks per day, while women should have no more than one.

In addition to these lifestyle changes, getting tested for colon cancer is very important. Early detection is a key to successful treatment, and colonoscopies can often identify polyps that can be removed before they become cancerous. Most people should begin getting tested at age 50, but if you are at a high risk of developing colon cancer due to family history or health issues, speak with your doctor to see when to begin screening.