Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Reduce The Risk Of Colon Cancer

Today 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women run the risk of being affected by Colon Cancer, and in 2020 over 1.0 million new cases worldwide were diagnosed; and while there is no sure-fire way to cure colon cancer, there are several changes you can make to your lifestyle in an attempt to help reduce the risk of being diagnosed, and they include

Controlling Your Weight

When it comes to colon cancer, not only has obesity and being overweight been linked to an increased risk of developing colon cancer but so has an increase in abdominal fat (a larger waistline). Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding weight gain, especially around your waist, may help lower your risk.

Thinking about What You Eat

While you can’t change your age or your family medical history, you can make intelligent decisions about what you eat. Eating healthy fats such as nut oils, flax oils, fish oils, olive oil, and canola oil can help. Likewise, be sure to limit your red meat intake, which contains high amounts of saturated fat. You might also consider cutting out or reducing your consumption of full-fat dairy products such as butter, cream, ice cream, and cheese. Additionally, it’s essential to steer clear of any processed foods made with trans fats or hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

Adding Fibre to Your Diet

Emerging research suggests that fibre, especially from whole grains, may help to lower your risk of colon cancer. So start by adding fibre to your breakfast. Try oatmeal with fresh or frozen berries, nuts, and a sprinkling of flax seeds. Or, try a high-fibre breakfast cereal with at least 6 grams or more of fibre per serving. In the afternoon, snack on fresh or dried fruit or nibble on veggies with hummus instead of chips or cookies. And, finally, end the day by adding an extra serving of vegetables to dinner and ensuring that your bread is 100 per cent whole grain.

Get Plenty of Exercise

All it takes is 20 minutes of exercise four to five times per week, and any form of moderate to intense activity will do (for example, walking briskly, running, swimming, or biking). That said, vigorous exercise may lower your risk of colon cancer even more than moderate exercise. So if you’re already working out regularly, consider upping the intensity and frequency of your sessions.

Quit smoking and cutting down on your drinking

Research suggests that by stopping smoking and limiting your alcohol consumption, you can lower your risk of developing colon cancer.

Smoking can deplete your body of vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants help reduce your colon cancer risk by sweeping out the free radicals (pollution, cellular waste) in your body.

Likewise, excessive alcohol use can deplete the amount of folate (one of the B vitamins) that you absorb from healthy foods. Folate deficiency has been linked to an increased instance of colon cancer.

Thinking About Natural Remedies

While few natural remedies or alternative therapies have been found to play a significant role in colon cancer prevention, preliminary research suggests that the following substances may help reduce your risk of colon cancer to some degree.

Vitamin D

High blood levels of vitamin D may be linked to a lower risk of colon cancer. According to a study that looked at 1,248 people with colorectal cancer and the same number of healthy individuals, researchers found that those with the highest levels of vitamin D had a 40 per cent reduced risk of colon cancer compared to those with the lowest levels.


By making sure you consume enough folate (a B vitamin found in foods like spinach, asparagus, and fortified cereals), you may lower your risk of colon cancer. The recommended daily intake of folate is 400 mcg for most adults. Pregnant women should consume 600 mcg daily, while women breastfeeding should consume 500 mcg daily.


In lab tests on cell cultures, scientists have demonstrated that quercetin may help stall colon cancer growth. What’s more, a study of 672 people found that quercetin’s dietary intake may be linked with a reduced risk of colon cancer. An antioxidant available in supplement form, quercetin is naturally found in foods like apples, onions, and berries.


White tea may help inhibit the growth of aberrant crypts (a precursor to colon cancer). Green tea has also been found to fight colon cancer in animal-based research and test-tube studies. However, the available scientific data are insufficient to conclude that any tea type may prevent colon cancer in humans.

Looking at Preventive Medications

For some time, people have been wondering if taking certain medications may help reduce their risk of developing colon cancer. For instance, several studies suggested that people who regularly use aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have a lower risk of colon cancer. However, the truth is, the jury is still out.

Particularly since NSAIDs can cause serious side effects (including bleeding from stomach irritation), it’s essential to consult your doctor before taking these drugs regularly. The American Cancer Society notes that “most experts don’t recommend taking NSAIDs just to lower colorectal cancer risk if you are someone at average risk.”

And, while some studies have suggested that statins—drugs commonly used to treat high LDL cholesterol levels, such as Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Crestor (rosuvastatin)—may reduce the risk for developing colon cancer, others have not supported this way of thinking.

When it comes to Colon cancer

Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, limiting your consumption of red and processed meats, and avoiding excess alcohol intake are essential ways to lower your risk of this disease.

If you have any concerns regarding colon cancer, talk with your doctor about when you should get screened, whether that’s with a colonoscopy or at-home stool-based test.

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Cancer Pro is the voice of the world’s cancer physicians and oncology professionals in Malaysia and is the trusted compassionate resource for people with cancer, their families and caregivers. For more information regarding all aspects of reducing the risk of Colon cancer along with the treatments available, please visit www.