UCLA Offers Tips to Lower the Risk of Colorectal Cancer


March is colorectal cancer awareness month.

With colorectal cancer the second leading cause of cancer death, it's a great time to take a look at the health of your colon.

"Colorectal cancer is largely preventable with early screening and detection," said Dr. Anne Lin, assistant professor of general surgery for the UCLA Health System and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. 

UCLA experts encourage people to embrace the following tips to help protect colon health:

10 Tips to Lower Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer

  1. Receive regular colorectal cancer screenings beginning at age 50 if you are at normal risk.
  2. If you are at higher risk - due to a personal or family history of colorectal cancer, other cancers or inflammatory bowel disease - talk to your doctor about screenings before age 50.
  3. Eat between 25 and 30 grams of fiber each day - from fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, nuts, and beans. 
  4. Eat a low-fat diet. Colorectal cancer has been associated with diets high in saturated fat.
  5. Eat foods with folate, such as leafy green vegetables.
  6. Drink alcohol in moderation and quit smoking. Alcohol and tobacco in combination are linked to colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers.
  7. Exercise for at least 20 minutes three to four days a week. Moderate exercise such as walking, gardening or climbing stairs may help reduce your risk.
  8. Report to your doctor any persistent symptoms such as blood in the stool, a change in bowel habits, weight loss, narrower-than-usual stools, abdominal pains or other gastrointestinal complaints. 
  9. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity may increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
  10. For more information, please visit the UCLA Colorectal Cancer Program at http://colorectalcancer.ucla.edu  

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