Spreading Awareness: 6 Tips to Prevent Colon Cancer

By: Stephanie Stanley

Colon Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, prompting UPMC Presbyterian’s Dr. Jennifer Holder-Murray, assistant professor, Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, to offer advice to help reduce a person’s chance of getting colorectal cancer. 

Dr. Holder-Murray’s tips include:

  • Get regular colorectal cancer screenings beginning at 50 years old. Those with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps, or a personal history of another cancer or inflammatory bowel disease, are encouraged to talk to their doctor about earlier screening.
  • Eat plenty of fiber — 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day from fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread and cereals, nuts and beans.
  • Eat a low-fat diet.
  • Eat foods with folate such as leafy green vegetables.
  • Don’t drink excessive alcohol or smoke. Alcohol and tobacco in combination are linked to colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers.
  • Exercise for at least 20 minutes three to four days each week. Moderate exercise such as walking, gardening or climbing steps may help reduce risk.