Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. It is important to remember that colorectal cancer can be prevented, often detected early and successfully treated.
The following six steps can help you lower your risk of colon cancer:
- Eat a high-fiber diet. Fiber can help reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer by lowering the amount of time it takes for food to move through your colon. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of fiber, as are whole grains, nuts and seeds. Try to eat at least 21 grams of fiber a day.
- Stay active. Research shows that people who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than those who don’t exercise or are sedentary. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.
- Limit alcohol consumption. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Drinking more than these amounts increases your risk for colorectal cancer, as well as other types of cancer and other serious health conditions.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking cigarettes increases your chances of developing colon cancer and other cancers — including cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach and cervix. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible — before any more damage is done to your body.
- Consume Less Red Meat
- Limiting red meat can lower your risk of colon cancer. Be sure to limit beef to just a couple times a month and avoid processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage and lunch meats. If you must eat red meat, choose small portions and avoid frying it or cooking it on the grill until charred. You should also remove any visible fat before cooking meat to help reduce your risk.