Six Steps to Lowering Your Risk of Colon Cancer

  • Get regular colorectal cancer screenings beginning at age 45.* If you have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps, or a personal history of another cancer or inflammatory bowel disease, talk to your doctor about earlier screening.
  • Eat plenty of fiber. Eat between 25 to 35 grams of fiber each day. Fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread and cereals, nuts and beans are excellent sources of fiber. 
  • Eat a low-fat, healthy diet. Diets that include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have reduced risk of colorectal cancer. Also, limit red meat (beef, pork, lamb) and processed meats (salami, hot dogs) as these have been linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer. 
  • Limit alcohol and don't use tobacco. Alcohol and tobacco are linked to colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers. If you use tobacco, quit. If you use alcohol, drink only in moderation. The American Cancer Society recommends no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.
  • Watch your weight. Being overweight or obese increases of colorectal cancer. Eating healthier and exercising can help you to control your weight. 
  • Exercise for at least 20 minutes three to four days each week. Moderate exercise such as walking, gardening or climbing steps may help reduce your risk. 

*In 2018, secondary to new data on the increased risks of colon cancer in those under 50, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery changed recommendations to start screening at age 45.  

WHAT IS A COLON AND RECTAL SURGEON?

Colon and rectal surgeons are experts in the surgical and non-surgical treatment of diseases of the colon, rectum and anus. They have completed advanced surgical training in the treatment of these diseases as well as full general surgical training. Board-certified colon and rectal surgeons complete residencies in general surgery and colon and rectal surgery, and pass intensive examinations conducted by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery. They are well-versed in the treatment of both benign and malignant diseases of the colon, rectum and anus and are able to perform routine screening examinations and surgically treat conditions if indicated to do so.

DISCLAIMER

The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons is dedicated to ensuring high-quality patient care by advancing the science, prevention and management of disorders and diseases of the colon, rectum and anus. These brochures are inclusive but not prescriptive. Their purpose is to provide information on diseases and processes, rather than dictate a specific form of treatment. They are intended for the use of all practitioners, health care workers and patients who desire information about the management of the conditions addressed. It should be recognized that these brochures should not be deemed inclusive of all proper methods of care or exclusive of methods of care reasonably directed to obtain the same results. The ultimate judgment regarding the propriety of any specific procedure must be made by the physician in light of all the circumstances presented by the individual patient. 



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