According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 20 Americans will develop colon cancer at some point during their lifetime, making it one of the more common cancers in the United States. While the exact cause of colon cancer has not yet been pinpointed, researchers have found several factors that can increase or decrease a person’s risk. Colon cancer is scary, and it can be devastating.
To lower your risk of developing colon cancer, follow these five lifestyle choices:
1. Eat Fruits, Vegetables and Whole Grains
Diets high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains have been linked to a decreased risk of colon cancer. Focus on eating less red meat, such as beef, pork and lamb, along with less processed meats including hot dogs and lunch meats. Both red meat and processed meats have been linked with an increased risk of colon cancer. Coconut oil has shown amazing effects on colon cancer. You may want to consider adding it to your diet!
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor that can increase your risk of developing colon cancer, and dying from colon cancer. To maintain a healthy weight, choose healthy foods and stay physically active on a regular basis. Maintaining your health through both diet and exercise can help lower your risk of colon cancer.
3. Stop Smoking
Smoking is a well-known cause of lung cancer, but it has also links to most other cancers, including colon cancer. Long-term smokers are much more likely to develop and die from colon cancer than non-smokers.
4. Get Regular Exercise
If you are not physically active, you have a greater chance of developing colon cancer. Choose an exercise that works for you, whether it’s yoga, hiking, swimming, lifting weights, or anything else that gets your blood pumping, and aim to exercise for 30 minutes each day. Staying physically active can help lower your risk of colon cancer.
5. Limit Alcohol
Heavy drinking has been linked to colon cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women, equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 1/2 ounces of spirits. Limiting alcohol use has many benefits, including a lower risk of colon cancer.
Colon Cancer Signs and Symptoms
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of colon cancer is important to catching it early. Colon cancer may not cause symptoms right away, but symptoms that are associated with colon cancer include:
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation or narrowing of the stool, lasting for more than a few days
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
- Rectal bleeding
- Blood in the stool or a dark-colored stool
- Cramping or abdominal pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unintended weight loss