Colon cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the US. About 112,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer each year and about half of colon cancer patients eventually die from the disease because of late diagnosis.
Fortunately, colon cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Although some people are genetically predisposed to developing colon cancer, there are things that you can do to reduce your risk of having colorectal cancer. The following are eight best ways to prevent colon cancer:
- Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables
Preventing colon cancer mostly lies on the types of food we eat. The health care society recommends high fiber diet such as fruits and vegetables, as they contain great amounts of phytochemicals which can protect your colon walls and help cleansing your colon.
- Avoid processed foods
If there are recommended foods, of course there are also foods that should be avoided. A diet high in processed foods such as hotdogs, salami, or corned beef. Of course, you don’t have to totally deprive yourself of red meat. But have them sparingly. If you’re worried where to get your protein, get them from fish instead. Fish is a good source of protein.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Obese men and women seem to be more at risk for colon cancer than people with normal weight. Experts also believe that certain body types seem to influence risk more than others. Studies indicate that individuals with an apple-shaped body, where fat is concentrated in the waist area, are not only prone to diabetes and heart conditions, but also colon cancer.
- Exercise regularly
A study found that regular exercise can reduce colon cancer risk by about 40 percent. According to a study conducted at Washington University, walking 30 minutes a day can greatly reduce the risk of colon cancer. Exercise also tends to reduce the incidence of other risk factors for colon cancer, such as obesity and diabetes.
- Limit alcohol intake
Excess drinking of alcohol has been linked to formation of colon tumor. So the best way to prevent colon cancer is stop drinking alcohol. But if you can’t avoid alcohol, then limit your intake to two glasses at most if you are male or one glass if you are female.
- Quit smoking
Smoking is also a risk factor for colon cancer. According to a study, inhalation or swallowing of tobacco not only brings carcinogenic substances to your lungs, but to your gut as well. You really will benefit nothing from smoking so stop smoking as soon as possible.
Read also: 9 best tips to help you quit smoking
- Undergo colon cancer screening
The risk for this disease increases with age and is more common in those over 50. Research found that by age 50, 1 in 4 people have polyps (colon cancer precursors). Some polyps, or growths, can be found and removed before they turn into cancer. So getting screened is an excellent way to prevent colon cancer.
- Reduce exposure to radiation
Excessive exposure to radiation has been found to cause colon cancer. Radiation such as x-rays can damage healthy normal cells. By all means, avoid unnecessary X-rays, CT scans, mammograms or other radiation source can greatly reduce your risk from this disease.