There are many dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to decrease your risk of colon cancer, as listed below, but a timely screening is also very important. If you are concerned about your risk of colon cancer, start making the changes outlined below, and schedule an appointment for a evaluation.
Increase fiber from natural sources. A diet high in daily fiber intake, particularly cereal and grains, has been shown in studies to decrease the risk of bowel polyps and bowel cancer risk. Fiber helps move food through the digestive tract, so that is part of why eating more of it reduces your risk of cancer in the colon and bowel. Bran, beans, legumes, berries, prunes, and whole grains are the best sources of this type of fiber.
Increased consumption of raw vegetables and fruits is an important dietary change that can help avoid colon cancer. Not only do some of them provide fiber, but it is now suspected that fruits and veggies containing phytochemicals also help in the fight against cancer. (Eating to Prevent Colorectal Cancer) These are believed to protect cells from damage. Add more of these to your diet: Tomatoes, berries, broccoli, red grapes, citrus fruits, cabbage, onions and garlic, tea, peppers and orange vegetables like carrots, squash and sweet potatoes. Soy also contains a class or phytochemicals, so adding it may also help. (Coila)
Descrease your intake of red and processed meats and avoiding refined sugar. A daily intake of 100 to 120 grams, which is only 4 ounces, of red and processed meats increases the risk of colon cancer. That can be just two sausage links! Eliminating red meats or replacing them with fish several days a week, or eating smaller amounts when you do have it, is a great start to this positive change.
Increased calcium intake and Vitamin D have recently been shown to help avoid colon cancer. (Eating to Prevent Colorectal Cancer). Great sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, but also non-dairy products like soy milk, tofu, salmon and dark leafy greens such as collard greens and kale. Surprisingly, molasses also has calcium. Natural sources are always better than a supplement. And as for your vitamin D, get out in the sunshine to get that! On your break at work, take a short walk outside, or eat your lunch there. If you can walk the kids to school, try that. It’s easy to find a few more minutes in the day to spend in the sun!
Limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol increases your risk of colon cancer. Drink less alcohol than you routinely do now.
Lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of colon cancer as well. Being physically inactive, being very overweight or obese and smoking also contributes to your increased chance for colon cancer. Getting some more activity, losing some weight and stopping smoking are positive lifestyle changes that can decrease your risk.
And the BEST thing you can do to avoid colon cancer in the future, is to do regular screenings for it. Using current medical screening methods, any polyps that could develop into colon cancer, can be discovered and removed now to avoid future problems. If you have had dietary or lifestyle factors that sometimes contribute to colon cancer, it is prudent to make an appointment at Southeast Valley Gastroenterology. Our professional staff can evaluate your case and schedule you for a screening if it is due. Call (480) 899-9800 or schedule an appointment on their website at www.sevgastro.com.
Learn more about our colon cancer screenings, our Center for Colon Cancer Screening, or open access colonoscopy.
Coila, Bridget. livestrong.com. 2015.
Eating to Prevent Colorectal Cancer. n.d.