Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk

In addition to colorectal cancer screening, doctors at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center recommend making simple lifestyle changes to help reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Stop Smoking

Smoking may increase colorectal cancer risk. NYU Langone doctors strongly urge people who smoke to quit. Our Tobacco Cessation Program can help you succeed.

Limit Alcohol Intake

Heavy alcohol use may increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Doctors advise drinking alcohol in moderation only.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet—one rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in red and processed meats—may help reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer.

A high intake of red and processed meats has been shown to increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

Exercise Regularly

An active lifestyle has been linked to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer. Speak with your doctor about an exercise program that is right for you.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight can increase your risk of colorectal cancer. Eating healthfully and exercising regularly can help you maintain a healthy body weight.

NYU Langone offers a Weight Management Program, which includes medical and surgical approaches that can help you achieve your weight goals.

Get Screened

Colorectal cancer is one cancer for which the recommended screening tests, such as colonoscopy, can not only detect cancer early but can often help prevent cancer from developing. Colonoscopy screening can be used to identify growths, called polyps, before they become cancerous—and before you have symptoms.

According to the U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer Screening, most men and women at average risk should start screening at age 45. For people who have certain risk factors, such as inflammatory bowel disease or a family history of colon polyps or cancer, screening may start at a younger age.