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.