What You Can Do to Lower Your Colon Cancer Risk
How to Lower Your Risk for Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the U.S. About one out of every 25 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer at some point during their lives.1
Several factors determine your risk of developing colon cancer. Some factors, such as your family history, are beyond your control. However, other risk factors, such as your diet and lifestyle choices, are fully within your control. While you can't 100% guarantee that you'll prevent colon cancer, you can take action to drastically reduce your risk.
Eat More Vegetables
Adding more vegetables to your diet, as well as more whole grains and fruits, may help to lower your risk of colon cancer. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains contain a lot of fiber, which may play a role in protecting the colon. Vegetables and other plant-based foods also contain many vitamins and antioxidants, which may also help lower cancer risk.
Vegetables and fruits are part of a healthy diet and have numerous other benefits for you, beyond reducing cancer risk. Eating a diet made up of mostly plant-based whole foods, with reduced red meat consumption, can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol
Tobacco use increases cancer risk, including the risk of colon cancer. If you currently smoke or use other forms of tobacco, your family doctor can help you take steps toward quitting.
Alcohol can also increase your risk of developing colon cancer, plus other types of cancer. The best option, health-wise, is to completely avoid alcohol. If you do wish to drink, limit your alcohol consumption. Moderate alcohol consumption is one drink per day for women and two drinks for men.
Portion distortion is very common with alcoholic drinks, especially as super-sized wine glasses and alcohol-heavy beers have become more popular. A drink of alcohol equals 12 ounces of 5% ABV beer, five ounces of 12% ABV wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, including colon cancer. Making changes to your diet, including adding more vegetables and limiting certain types of animal products, can help you lose weight while also reducing your colon cancer risk.
Losing weight can be tough, no matter your age. If you need help with weight loss, talk to your family physician about your options. They may refer you to a registered dietician or work with you to help you develop an eating plan for weight loss.uris augue neque gravida in:
Physical activity may also help to lower your risk of colon cancer. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and may also play a role in regulating certain hormones, which can influence cancer risk.
You don't have to start training for a marathon to see the benefits of exercise. If you don't exercise at all currently, start small, by adding a 20 to 30-minute walk to your day most days. Your family doctor can provide more personalized guidance and advice on starting an exercise routine. In any case, it's always a good idea to talk to them before you make any changes to your habits.
Get Recommended Screenings
Colon cancer screenings may not prevent cancer, but they can help you detect it early, which increases the chance of successful treatments.
Multiple types of screenings exist for colorectal cancer. The right one for you depends on your overall risk factors. Your doctor can recommend a screening option and let you know when, and how often, to get screened.
Some changes to your habits and lifestyle can reduce your colon cancer risk while providing other benefits. Avoiding tobacco and alcohol, eating healthier, and getting exercise can help you feel better overall.
1. Six Ways to Lower Your Risk of Colon Cancer, American Cancer Society, https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/six-ways-to-lower-your-risk-for-colon-cancer.html