Did you know that colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. — among men and women? Colon cancer (or colorectal cancer) is a cancer that occurs in the colon or the rectum. When discovered early it can be highly treatable. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, about 45 percent of colorectal cancers are preventable through lifestyle changes like healthy diet, physical activity, and reduction in risky behaviors. Here are our tips for reducing risk and recommendations to get started!
Fit in fitness
All types of physical activity contribute to a direct reduction in risk of colon cancer. Get started today by adding 10-minute bouts of physical activity such as a brisk walk, taking the stairs, or any other moderate-intensity exercise.
Don’t forget the fiber
Getting the recommended daily dose of fiber can reduce your risk of developing colon cancer. Some studies show that for every 10 grams consumed, the risk drops by 10 percent. Get started today and add fiber slowly. Try fruits, beans, whole grains, and nuts to add variety!
Maintain a healthy weight
Some studies have revealed that excess body fat can lead to an increased risk of colon cancer. If you are overweight, start out by making small changes like monitoring portion sizes, counting calories, and limiting calorie-dense foods.
Monitor intake of red and processed meats
Studies from around the world have suggested that a diet high in red and processed meats may increase your risk. Try choosing lean cuts of meat, trimming away excess fat, and aiming to limit processed, cured, and salted meats as much as possible.
If you don’t drink, don’t start. The American Cancer Society recommends limiting alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks for men and one drink for women daily. To get started on monitoring your intake, know the standard drink size: 5 oz. for wine, 12 oz. for beer, 1.5 oz. for liquor.
Don’t smoke or quit today
In a 2009 study by the American Cancer Society, researchers discovered that smokers are 18 percent more likely to develop colon cancer than nonsmokers — and 25% more likely to die from the disease. If you smoke, talk to a health coach today about the benefits of quitting. Then partner with your doctor for success!
Follow screening guidelines
Colon cancer is one of few cancers that can be caught early with screenings. Talk to your doctor about suggested screening ages and your family history to make an informed decision about screening. You have many options.
Also ask your doctor about any other steps you can take to prevent the disease. With 140,000 people diagnosed each year, and more than 1 million people living with a history of the disease, prevention is critical!