6 Easy Ways to Reduce Colon Cancer Risk

By Ted

2659-reduce-colon-cancer-risk.jpgColorectal cancer kills 950 Americans, 320 Brits, 73 Australians, 175 Canadians and 24 Kiwis on average each week.

An ongoing project that has analyzed and compiled the data from 749 scientific papers to date, has established 6 ways people can reduce their risk of being another bowel cancer statistic.

A few easy dietary and lifestyle changes can make a lot of difference in reducing your risk.The World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research are behind this effort and common sense would dictate that the sooner that these recommendations are put into practice, the greater impact they will have on a person’s overall risk.

Top 6 Bowel Cancer Prevention Tips

  1. Reduce body fat, especially around the waist.
  2. Cut back on alcohol consumption.
  3. Eat fiber rich, plant based foods such whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and pulses as the majority of your diet.
  4. Limit red meat intake to no more than 500 grams a week.
  5. Avoid processed meats entirely.
  6. Get adequate exercise.

This is an ongoing effort and there’s much more to learn about colon cancer. However, the research to date identifies the above 6 as being simple ways you can reduce your bowel cancer risk.

Personally having two grandparents die of colon cancer, I especially am concerned with reducing my risk as it has also been shown to have hereditary links. While colon cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, it is also believed to be the most preventable.


  1. mydermatologist

    Colorectal cancer, commonly known as bowel cancer, is a cancer from uncontrolled cell growth in the colon, rectum, or appendix.

    Colorectal cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world, but it is more common in developed countries.

  2. RichReWil

    Processed meat, yummy.

    I know people who’ve lived til 85 who smoked, had high blood pressure and ate pure crap all their lives. And people were very restrained, ate loads of veg, got cancer and died in their 40’s.

    I think lower stress in one’s life and a positive mental attitude is the best thing for reducing your chance of any kind of cancer.

  3. JSM

    While all of these are definitely good ideas for keeping fit and I would recommend them for that purpose

    NONE are ‘easy ways to reduce colon cancer risk.’

    People can go all of their lives doing this/these and still not get colon cancer.

  4. SueK24

    Spectra, avoiding red meat is very important because red meat contains a fair amount of an omega 6 fatty acid called arachidonic acid, AA for short, which is the basic building block of inflammation at the cellular level, the type of inflammation that remains silent for many years before ultimately presenting as a disease. This type of inflammation is considered to be the precursor to inflammatory linked diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and arthritis. Fiber cannot lower one’s levels of cellular inflammation, but EPA, an omega 3 fat found in fish dilutes out high levels of AA in the body and by doing so lowers cellular inflammation when accompanied by a diet which keeps insulin at low levels. Inflammation control and insulin control are the basis of the Zone diet.

  5. SueK24

    When a precancerous polyp is removed colon cancer has been averted and prevented. I agree that getting regular colonoscopies (following the schedule recommended by your physician, determined according to your level of risk) is as important as following the excellent suggestions in the article.

  6. Mary

    I turned vegetarian one year ago.
    I have seen great health benefits: I lost 10 pounds in the first 2 weeks, just by cutting meat. When I started to cut out certain dairy products, another 10 pounds were gone. Colon cancer is a big problem, I am not trying to say: become a veggie! What I am trying to say is that people should definitely watch their meat and dairy intake: health risks are definitely attached to the products.

  7. NEMO

    Researchers have run a large case-control study in Japan, examining associations of meat, fish and fat intake with risk of colorectal cancer, paying particular attention to the subsite within the colorectum. The Fukuoka Colorectal Cancer Study – using a newly developed personal-computer software for registering semi quantitative food frequencies – found that intake of beef/pork, processed meat, total fat, saturated fat or n-6 PUFA showed no clear association with the overall or subsite-specific risk of colorectal cancer.

    Lead author, Dr. Yasumi Kimura from the Graduate School of Medical Sciences at Kyushu University said, “There was an almost significant inverse association between n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) intake and incidences of colorectal cancer, particularly in the distal colon.”

    “This study provides further evidence that a diet with a high intake of fish and n-3 PUFA can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.”

    The published findings not only disproves the common hypothesis that consumption of red meat increases colorectal cancer risk, the results also suggest that a high intake of fish may in fact decrease the risk- particularly in the case of distal colon cancer.

  8. Dan

    Remember that 500 grams is over one pound a week. Surely a lot of people would also eat fish and chicken and would not eat red meat everyday. Fish is probably a positive in regards to colon cancer. Possibly there is a link between commercially raised, hormone injected red meat and colon cancer. Maybe there needs to be more study on organic versus non organic meats.

  9. Ryan

    Yes, I’m curious about this too. There’s this folkloric belief constantly tossed around that somehow red meat is worse than other meat.

  10. musajen

    What is the logic behind cutting back on red meat? What is it about red meat that makes it worse than other meat?

  11. tina

    I just had a colonoscopy last week and it was clearly the best thing I’ve ever done for my body. I am not as old as fifty but I knew that I didn’t eat right and that it had some impact on my body. The doctor found a polyp and removed it promptly. I’m so glad I got the colonoscopy over with and yeah, the preparation for the colonoscopy was worse than the procedure, which was really nothing bad. I’m going to eat better now; I feel that the polyp was a warning sign of bad things to come if I don’t eat healthier. Yeah, I definitely recommend a colonoscopy!

  12. Wickedly Diabetic

    It really is important not to ignore ones body, but rather become an expert in your own body so that you have the confidence and knowledge to better interact with your healthcare provider. We at Wickedly Diabetic believe that no amount of discomfort is greater than the results of any chronic illness!

  13. Zach Hunt - Spokane Personal Trainer

    Thanks for the advice! Even if treatments today are really advanced! Cancer is still a scary disease!

  14. MichaelD

    I would highly recommend anyone having this procedure done have it done under anesthesia. Having it done without is uncomfortable at best, and I know someone who had to have it redone because the procedure couldn’t be finished, so the next time it was done under anesthesia.

    Dan is right…the prep the day before is the worst part of this whole procedure. Stay home and keep the bathroom clear.

  15. Dan

    I forgot, the actual procedure is not bad, but the actual prep to clean oneself out can be a bit of a pain. I know someone who failed to do the prep properly about three times and he just postponed it again.

  16. Dan

    It may not be “easy” but it is a lot easier than having colon cancer and having a colon removed- this requires incisions. Since there are no incisions in a colonoscopy, there is absolutely no pain afterward. The only thing to recover from is the anesthesia- that is why they require that someone else take you home.

  17. T. Kallmyer

    oh yeah and I wouldn’t call a colonoscopy “easy” either…. 🙂

  18. T. Kallmyer

    Hi Spectra, pulses are beans, lentils, chic peas etc. (legumes)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse_%28legume%29 🙂

  19. T. Kallmyer

    Good point Michael and you are correct, however, this is “Diet” Blog and I was just focusing on dietary methods of prevention 🙂

  20. Spectra

    All very good tips–colon cancer is definitely one of the more preventable cancers out there. I do sort of wonder if eating a lot of fiber can reverse the effects of eating red meat or if you should try to avoid red meats as much as possible regardless of how many veggies you eat. I’m considered to be at a higher risk for colon problems because my grandma has diverticulosis, so I’ll be starting colonoscopies at age 40–I can hardly wait, lol.

    BTW, what exactly are “pulses”? I don’t think I’ve heard of them before.

  21. MichaelD

    Thank you Dan for elaborating on my one worded comment. I just had a colonoscopy done, had a polyp removed and the doctor said I am good to go for five years. Anyone over the age of 50 should have this procedure done, as it is one of the main reasons for the reduction of this deadly cancer.

    While I’m no expert, it is my understanding many of the polyps turn into cancer, so by getting a colonoscopy, you identify the potential problem, have it removed, and you lessen your chances tremendously of getting this cancer.

    I am surprised that this wasn’t brought by the writer.

  22. sprice76

    You are right. And I’m not saying people shouldn’t get colonoscopy screenings as they get older. But the same things that can prevent colon cancer are the things that can prevent pre-cancerous polyps from forming in the first place.

  23. cucuy13

    I’d say having colon cancer is a far greater problem than a pre-cancerous polyp, wouldn’t you?

  24. Dan

    Colonoscopies remove polyps before they become a problem. I had two polyps removed before they became cancerous. Colonoscopies may the best preventive surgical kind of procedure we have.

  25. sprice76

    ETA: I realize a colonscopy can be used to screen for pre-cancerous polyps, but by then you’ve already got a problem.

  26. sprice76

    My grandmother was just diagnosed with colon cancer & lymphoma. We don’t know the prognosis yet. I’ve been cutting back on my red meat intake and eating a lot more fruits and vegetables for a while now, and this just gives me more reason to keep at it. Thank you for the tips!

  27. sprice76

    How does a colonoscopy prevent cancer?

  28. MichaelD