Six tips to reduce your colon cancer risk

Published in Cancer Care, For the Health of It Author: Deb Perkins, RN, BSN

GI Cancer Coordinator
Coborn Cancer Center

The U.S. National Cancer Institute estimates that there will be more than 134,000 cases of colon cancer this year in the United States. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death and the third most common type of cancer.

Cancer and nutrition experts say that half of the colon cancer cases in the United States could be prevented if people followed six steps to reduce their risk, which include:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight and control belly fat, which has been linked to increased risk of colon cancer.
  2. Get regular moderate physical activity.
  3. Eat plenty of high-fiber foods.
  4. Reduce red meat consumption and avoid processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage and deli meats.
  5. Avoid alcohol or limit your intake to no more than two standard drinks a day for men and one for women.
  6. Go heavy on the garlic. Evidence suggests that a diet rich in garlic reduces the risk of colon cancer.

Talk to your health care provider about colon cancer screening. If you have a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors, you may choose to have a screening before the recommended age of 50. Colon screenings can detect cancer in its early stages when it is potentially curable.

Colon Cancer Awareness Month Resources

  • Pick Up a Free Colon Cancer Screening Kit
  • Colon Cancer Patient Stories: Bill and Laurie