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The Role of Diet and Lifestyle in Preventing Colon Cancer

April 25, 2023
Closeup of physician holding colon cancer ribbon next to model of colon

Colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer, is one of the most common forms of cancer. It is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and women in the United States, affecting approximately one in every 25 people. Despite the prevalence of colon cancer, patients can take measures to lower their risk.

Richmond University Medical Center on Staten Island, New York, specializes in providing patients with award-winning, nationally accredited services to treat various illnesses, including colon cancer. Here, we explore ways to reduce the risk of getting colon cancer through lifestyle and diet choices.

What Is Colon Cancer?

The human body’s digestive system consists of multiple organs tasked with breaking down the nutrients of food so the body can absorb them. It is also tasked with removing waste from the body. Two organs that help perform these duties are the colon and rectum.

When cells in the colon and rectum start growing out of control, it may cause polyps to develop in the colon’s inner lining. This is the beginning of colon cancer. Cancer screening can help detect these growths and remove them before they turn into cancer. If left untreated, colon cancer can spread to other areas of the body.

Ways to Help Reduce the Risk of Colon Cancer

Studies have shown that colon health is strongly linked to dietary habits, weight management, exercise routines, and other lifestyle choices. While some risk factors of colon cancer are outside a patient’s control, such as age and family history, patients can make simple changes to their daily lives to reduce their chances of developing the disease. Ways to help promote colon health include:

Not Smoking

Smoking is known to lead to many illnesses, including colon cancer. Those who refrain from smoking are less likely to develop colon cancer. Additionally, quitting can decrease the risk of colon cancer and lead to a healthier life.

Eating a Diet Full of Vegetables, Fruits, and Whole Grains

A balanced diet that includes lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains has been shown to decrease the risk of colon cancer. Patients should also avoid food items known to increase the likelihood of getting colon cancer, such as red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) and processed meats (hot dogs and some lunchmeats).

Properly Managing Weight

Being overweight or obese can increase a patient’s chances of developing health issues, including colon cancer. Patients who are better at managing their weight are less likely to encounter the disease.

Getting Regular Exercise

Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of getting colon cancer. Routine exercise is also a great way for patients to stay on top of their weight. The recommended amount of exercise to help protect against colon cancer is estimated between 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day.

Colon Cancer Screenings and Treatment at Richmond University Medical Center

One of the most effective ways to help prevent colon cancer is through routine screenings, which are offered at Richmond University Medical Center on Staten Island, New York. These screenings help physicians detect signs of the disease before symptoms develop, often increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Our board-certified oncology team also offers patients with comprehensive colon cancer treatment, consisting of the most proven and effective methods for addressing the disease. For more information about colon cancer and the advanced services offered at Richmond University Medical Center, contact us today to schedule an appointment.