Wellness Matters

7 Steps to Reduce Colorectal Cancer

May 11, 2015

By Sarah Beaty, MS, RD, LDN
Inpatient Clinical Oncology Dietitian
Wesley Long Hospital

Controlling lifestyle choices can be a major factor in limiting incidents of colorectal cancer. What a person eats and drinks, and their activity level can increase their risk of cancer, especially for those in high-risk groups.

Those at a high risk include:
  • Over age 50; 45 for African Americans 
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Family history
  • History of Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Type 2 diabetes 
Making healthy lifestyle choices, especially for those people in the high-risk groups, can reduce incidents of colorectal cancer.

All people, at risk or not, should adhere to the following:
  • Know your body. Be aware of any changes in bowel habits, unexpected and unexplained weight loss or blood present in stool. 
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. A person should have five servings daily of non-starchy fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit red/processed meats. Eat no more than 18 ounces of red or processed meats each week. 
  • Increase amount of whole grains. These grains, which add fiber to your diet, should include beans, brown rice, popcorn, oatmeal and nuts. 
  • Minimize alcohol intake. 
  • Ditch the salt. Limit the amount of salt to less than 2,400 milligrams a day. And it’s not just the added salt, watch your intake of salted foods such as breakfast and deli meats, chips, and pickled, cured or canned foods. Instead use more herbs – garlic, lemon, cider vinegar, onion and dill – that enhance food flavor. 
  • Get plenty of exercise. Aim for a least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day but try to work up to getting 60 minutes of moderate and 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day.


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