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4 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer

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Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the U.S., with about 150,000 cases diagnosed each year, according to the American Cancer Society. While overall rates of the disease have decreased since the mid-1980s, the incidence of colorectal cancer among adults younger than 50 is on the rise.  

Read More: Screening Options For Preventing Colorectal Cancer 

No matter your age, follow these steps to take care of your colon: 

1. Talk to your doctor about colorectal cancer screening. Most people should have a colonoscopy every 10 years beginning at age 45. But you may need to be screened earlier if you have inflammatory bowel disease, certain genetic syndromes or a family history of colorectal cancer. 

2. Take low-dose aspirin. It’s not just good for your heart. A low-dose aspirin regimen can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in some people, but only if you start the habit early, according to research published in JAMA Oncology. Ask your doctor if you should take a daily aspirin. 

3. Focus on fiber. Aim to get 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you eat, advises the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Fresh fruits and vegetables (with the skin left on) are generally the best sources of fiber, although whole-grain starches and legumes are good sources, too. 

4. Skip these vices. Alcohol, tobacco and processed sugar wreak havoc on colon health and increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer. Check food labels for hidden sources of sugar, and talk to your healthcare provider for help quitting alcohol and tobacco.