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(A-Z listing includes diseases, conditions, tests and procedures)

Colon Cancer Prevention

Unfortunately, there’s no guaranteed way to prevent colon and rectal cancers. However, there are lifestyle and nutrition decisions you can make to keep your colon and rectum healthy. Your daily food choices and exercise habits have an important impact on your risk of developing colon cancer and rectal cancer.

Organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research have published a variety of tips for colon and rectal cancer prevention. These include the following recommendations for maintaining good colon health:

  • Watch your weight. Maintain a healthy body weight using the body mass index (BMI) as a guide. Excess belly fat, in particular, is a risk factor for colon and rectal cancers. Learn to control portions and limit your intake of desserts.

  • Watch your exercise levels. Moderate physical activity helps reduce the risk of colon and rectal cancers. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

  • Watch your diet:

    • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

    • Limit your red meat consumption to 18 ounces per week.

    • Avoid processed meats (e.g., bacon, hot dogs and sausage).

    • Limit your intake of fast food, which contains excessive calories and sodium.

  • Watch your habits. Don’t smoke. Limit alcoholic drinks to one per day for women and two per day for men.

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