According to a recent report published by American Cancer society, colorectal cancer incidence is increasing in adults younger than 50 years old and middle-aged adults, aged 50 to 64 years. Although report showed a decline in colorectal cancer rate in adults aged 65 and older possibly due to increased screening, no cause for the increase in colorectal cancer rate in younger age group was determined.

In view of recent data with similar findings, American cancer society recommends colorectal cancer screening to begin at age 45 for people at average risk.  Family history of colorectal cancer or history of having certain health conditions such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease can increase risk. Talk to your health care provider if you should be screened earlier or what screening option is best for you.

Although certain risk factors such as family history cannot be changed, Experts agree that more than half of colorectal cancer cases and deaths are due to modifiable risk factors. You can certainly take steps to reduce your risk.

Steps you can take to reduce colorectal cancer risk

  1. Quit Smoking
  2. Improve diet – Reduce intake of foods high in calories, red meat and avoid processed meat and increase intake of plant based foods
  3. Reduce your alcohol intake
  4. Increase physical activity  
  5. Watch your weight as obesity and excess body weight not only increase the risk of colorectal cancer but also reduces chance of recovery

In addition to reducing your risk factors, there are foods that are known to prevent cancer that you should include in your diet. There are plenty of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich foods that can benefit your gut health and reduce colorectal cancer risk. I have recommended the top 5 foods that you should include in your diet.

Top 5 foods to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer

1. Fish (especially oily fish) and fish oil:

Fish and fish oil reduce and prevent tumors in the colon. Consuming fish and fish oil in diet can provide a limited protective effect even among people who eat high amounts of meat and other animal fats in their diet. If you eat a vegetarian diet, flax oil and other omega 3 rich foods such as nuts and seeds can provide similar benefits.

2. Fiber

Fiber dietary sources

Several studies over the years have shown that colorectal cancer rate is low in countries with high fiber diet intake, whereas it is reversed in economically developed countries.

Fiber works like a “brush” in your colon, helping cleanse your colon by adding bulk to your stool, removing toxins and other waste products, removing excess cholesterol and keeping your bowel movements regular.

Although fiber supplements or fiber enriched cereal are available, you should try to get your fiber from wholesome food sources such as whole grains, beans, legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

3. Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, arugula, collard greens, rutabaga and watercress with its high content of indole-3-carbinol has anticancer effects and reduces colon cancer risk.

4. Mushrooms


Edible mushrooms especially reishi, shitake, maitake and cordyceps stimulate the immune system to kill the cancer cells and work towards preventing the spread of cancer. 

5. Turmeric:

Turmeric root and dried spice

No list of anticancer and cancer prevention foods would be complete without mention of turmeric.

Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric reduces inflammation, induces death of cancer cells, suppresses the growth and spread of cancer cells.

If you are taking certain medications such as blood thinners, you should talk to your Physician before increasing turmeric intake in diet.

The information and other content provided in this blog are for information purpose only, and not intended and should not be considered as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider before you make any changes to your diet or lifestyle.


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Siegel, R., Miller, K., Goding Sauer, A., Fedewa, S., Butterly, L., Anderson, J., Cercek, A., Smith, R. and Jemal, A. (Mar. 2020). Colorectal cancer statistics, 2020. doi.org/10.3322/caac.21601