March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), approximately 1 in 20 Americans will develop colon cancer at some time during their life. However, there are 6 things you can do to help lower your risk of getting the disease.
Get screened for colon cancer. Colon screenings can often find growths called polyps that can be removed before they become cancer. The ACS recommends you get tested once you turn 50. Talk to your doctor about when you should start getting screenings and which tests are right for you.
Eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Diets that include lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains have been linked to a decreased risk of colon cancer. Eat less red meat, such as beef, pork or lamb, and processed meats, like hot dogs and certain lunch meats, which have been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer.
Get regular exercise. If you are not physically active, you have a greater chance of developing colon cancer. Increasing your activity may help reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Watch your weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of getting and dying from colon cancer. Eating healthier and increasing your physical activity can help you control your weight.
Don’t smoke. Long-term smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop and die from colon cancer.
Limit alcohol. Colon cancer has been linked to heavy drinking. The ACS recommends no more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day for men and 1 alcoholic drink a day for women.