Father and daugther preparing dinner at home

How to prevent colorectal cancer

The best ways to prevent colorectal cancer are a healthy diet and regular screening. Polyps in the colon can slowly develop into cancer, sometimes taking up to 10-15 years. Because of this, screening is important for the early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer. If you choose colonoscopy for screening, most polyps can be removed before they have a chance to turn into cancer. Talk to your doctor about which method of colorectal cancer screening is right for you.

Overall, the most effective way to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer is to get screened for colorectal cancer routinely, beginning at age 45.

Almost all colorectal cancers begin as precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Such polyps can be present in the colon for years before invasive cancer develops. They may not cause any symptoms, especially early on. Colorectal cancer screening can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. In this way, colorectal cancer is prevented. Screening can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.


Research is underway to find out if changes to your diet can reduce your colorectal cancer risk. Medical experts often recommend a diet low in animal fats and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to reduce the risk of other chronic diseases, such as coronary artery disease and diabetes. This diet also may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Healthy Choices

Some studies suggest that people may reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer by increasing physical activity, keeping a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption, and avoiding tobacco.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/basic_info/prevention