How Changing Your Diet Can Reduce The Risk of Colorectal Cancer

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer starts in either the colon or the rectum — and depending on where cancer begins, it can be referred to as colon cancer or rectal cancer. They are commonly categorized together since they have similar symptoms and characteristics.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime. However, there are some things you can do that can help reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer — including watching what you eat. Here’s what you need to know.

Who is at Risk for Colorectal Cancer

The risk factors of colorectal cancer can be categorized into two types — controllable and uncontrollable. While having these risk factors does not necessarily mean that you will get colorectal cancer, knowing them can help you be proactive in prevention.

Controllable risk factors are defined as risk factors that you can change, such as:

  • Being obese/overweight
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle
  • Eating a poor diet
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use

Uncontrollable risk factors are defined as risk factors that you cannot change, such as:

  • Age - While colorectal cancer can develop at any age, the risk increases as you get older.
  • A personal history of colorectal cancer.
  • A personal history of adenomatous polyps.
  • Having an inherited syndrome/gene mutations such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis(FAP).

Top Foods to Lower Your Risk

Along with regular exercise, adding the following foods that are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to your diet can help reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer.

  • Vegetables such as salad greens, tomatoes, onions, carrots, and garlic.
  • Fruits such as berries, melons, apples, pears, oranges, and bananas.
  • Whole grains and beans such as oats, barley, quinoa, lentils, and chickpeas.
  • Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines.

When it comes to a healthy diet, it’s best to avoid processed foods, like bacon and packaged cheeses, chips, as well as white bread. It’s also essential to steer clear of frozen meals, sugary drinks, and desserts.

Contact Parrish Cancer Center

If you are concerned about your risk of developing colorectal cancer, we are here to help. To learn more about colorectal screening, treatment, and prevention, contact The Parrish Cancer Center today at 321-529-6202. Our caring oncologists are here to guide you every step of the way.