Prevention & Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer

Prevention & Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is largely preventable with routine screening, during which your doctor can find and remove benign polyps (abnormal growths projecting from the surface of the colon) before they become cancerous. You can choose to have regular screening tests, including colonoscopy — a procedure that allows doctors to look inside your rectum and colon and that can detect problems early and thus dramatically lower your risk for colorectal cancer.

We also recommend keeping these healthy habits, which can lower your risk for colorectal cancer.


  1. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and fiber, and less animal and dairy fat. The American Cancer Society recommends you eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Choosing foods such as whole grain breads, cereals, grains, rice, pasta, and beans is a great way to improve your diet. Foods rich in calcium, magnesium, and folic acid may also reduce your risk for colorectal cancer.

  2. Exercise regularly. Even moderate regular physical activity, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, raking leaves, or walking, can help reduce your risk for colorectal cancer.

  3. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is an important risk factor for colorectal cancer.

There are numerous risk factors for colorectal cancer — some that you can control and others that you can’t. Making healthier choices in your everyday life can reduce or eliminate many of them.