You can take an active role in the prevention and early detection of colorectal cancer. Steps you can take include:

  • Eat less red meat.
    Scientists have shown that people who eat less than one serving (4 ounces) of red meat a day have a lower risk of colon cancer. Red meat includes pork, beef, lamb and veal.
  • Increase fiber in your diet, especially the fiber found in vegetables.
    Studies suggest that diets high in fiber (three servings per day), especially fiber from vegetables, can protect against colon and rectal cancer.
  • Take a multivitamin with folate every day.
    People who take a multivitamin with folate every day have a lower risk of colon cancer. Folate is one of the B vitamins, which helps keep cells in the colon from becoming cancerous.
  • Increase your activity level.
    Research has linked an inactive lifestyle with an increased risk of colon and rectal cancer. A person is considered physically active if they exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
    People who drink more than one alcoholic beverage a day tend to develop colorectal cancer more often than those who do not drink alcohol.
  • Have regular screening examinations.
    Screening exams enable doctors to find and remove precancerous polyps before they turn into cancer. Follow your doctor’s advice about having tests for colon cancer.
  • Birth control pills
    Women who take birth control pills for at least five years have a lower risk of colon cancer. However, birth control pills can raise the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and stroke. Talk with your doctor about whether you should take birth control pills.