December 29, 2021


Although colorectal cancer is one of the more common cancers in the US, there are things you can do to help lower your risk. Research shows that habits related to diet, weight and exercise are strongly linked to colorectal cancer risk. Colon cancer prevention therefore involves changing some of these lifestyle habits, which of course may be hard, but pays off in the long run. For example, you can try to eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, as this type of diet has been linked with a decreased risk of colon or rectal cancer. Also eat less red meat, such as beef, pork, or lamb and processed meat like hot dogs and some luncheon meats, which have been linked with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Try to get a regular exercise habit and take control of your weight, as being overweight or obese increases your risk of getting and dying from colon or rectal cancer. Because long-term smokers are also more likely than non-smokers to develop and die from colorectal cancer, quitting smoking could decrease your risk of colorectal cancer. Another way to decrease your risk is by avoiding drinking alcohol, as alcohol use has been linked with a higher risk of colorectal cancer. Of course it is best to not drink alcohol at all, but if you do, the American Cancer Society recommends no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. Another important preventive measure that you should take is to get screened for colorectal cancer. Screenings are tests that look for cancer before signs and symptoms develop. Some colorectal screening tests can also find and remove precancerous growths, which are polyps in the colon or rectum. If you have an average risk of developing colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor at age 45 about screening for colorectal cancer, when to start screening and what tests to use. If you have a strong family history of colorectal polyps, or cancer, talk to your doctor about early screening and genetic counseling.