7 Steps to a Healthier Colon

Learn how to minimize your risk of colon cancer

7 Steps to a Healthier Colon

Nearly 93,090 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year — and that’s just in the United States.

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Colorectal cancer, which starts in the large intestine (colon) or the rectum, is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. But it’s also one of the most treatable cancers if doctors detect it early. On top of that, you can take steps to lower your risk and keep your colon healthy, too. Start with these tips:

  • test time

    1. Get tested

    Starting at age 50, get regular colon cancer screenings (start at age 45 if you are African-American). That’s the age at which your risk starts increasing. If colon cancer runs in your family, talk to your doctor about starting screenings earlier.

  • diet do's

    2. Diet do’s

    Add more fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, nuts and beans to your diet. They are linked to a lower risk of some cancers and can help you to have normal bowel function.

  • Diet don'ts

    3. Diet don’ts

    Limit your intake of red meat and foods that are high in fat or processed. They can increase your risk of colon cancer.

  • weight watch

    4. Weight watch

    Check your body mass index (BMI). Your risk of colon cancer increases if you’re overweight or obese.

  • sweat more

    5. Sweat more

    Include at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week. This will help you maintain a healthy weight and stay stress-free, which can decrease your risk.

  • limit drinks

    6. Limit drinks

    Keep an eye on your alcohol consumption, which is a general risk factor like red meat. The recommended limits are one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

  • No smoking sign

    7. Quit now

    On top of many other health risks, smoking increases your risk of colon cancer, so take steps to quit right away.

Related resources

Take a free colon cancer risk assessment, and access more helpful tips in the video below.