Reduce your risk of colon cancer

5 ways to help lower your risk for colorectal cancer.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Most cases are found in adults ages 50 and above, but younger individuals can also be diagnosed.

Here are things that the American Cancer Society recommends for protecting your colorectal health.


Get screened for colorectal cancer.

The best way to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer is to get screened for colorectal cancer regularly, beginning at age 45. Almost all colorectal cancers begin as abnormal growths in the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer screening can find abnormal growths so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. If you have a family history of colon cancer, your primary care physician might recommend testing at an earlier age.


Eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Diets that include lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains have been linked with a decreased risk of colon cancer. Try eating less red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) and processed meats (hot dogs and some luncheon meats), which have all been linked with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.


Get regular exercise.

If you are not physically active, you may have a greater chance of developing colon cancer. Increasing your activity may help reduce your risk. All Sharp Health Plan members have access to free one-on-one, telephone-based Best Health® coaching sessions, which are designed to help you reach your fitness goals.


Don’t smoke.

Long-term smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop colon cancer. If you do smoke, take advantage of community resources that can help you quit. Sharp HealthCare offers free smoking cessation classes and support for those looking to quit smoking or chewing tobacco.


Limit alcohol.

Alcohol use has been linked with a higher risk of colorectal cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.


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Sharp Direct Advantage is offered by Sharp Health Plan. Sharp Health Plan is an HMO with a Medicare contract. Enrollment with Sharp Health Plan depends on contract renewal. Read the full disclaimer.

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Page Last Updated: 3/10/2023
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