7 Steps to a Healthier Colon


7 Steps to a Healthier Colon

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Carol Burke, MD, gastroenterologist in Cleveland Clinic’s Digestive Disease Institute, gives you tips on how to keep your colon healthy.

7 Steps to a Healthier Colon

  1. Get regular colon cancer screenings beginning at age 50; if you are African American, your screenings should begin at age 45. Talk to your doctor about earlier screening if you have a personal or family history of colon cancer or polyps.
  2. A diet high in fat, processed foods and red meats increases colon cancer. Limit your consumption of these foods.
  3. Eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, nuts and beans.
  4. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of colon cancer. Maintain a normal body mass index (BMI), which is a reliable indicator of body fat in most people.
  5. Exercise at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes five days a week.
  6. Limit alcohol consumption. If you drink, recommended limits are: Women - one drink a day; Men - two drinks a day
  7. Smoking increases your risk of polyps and colon cancer. Take steps now to quit smoking.

Be sure to see your doctor if you have gastrointestinal bleeding, change in bowel habits, unexplained abdominal pain or unintentional weight loss. These may be signs of colon cancer.

You have the power to stop colon cancer before it starts!

Visit clevelandclinic.org/coloncancer to take a quick online survey to determine your colon cancer risk score, screening recommendations, and personalized family tree.