Evidence based medical wellness for active people from a doc who walks the walk

Eating to prevent colon cancer


Colon cancer is the third deadliest cancer in the United States.  Screening for colon cancer is a must, starting at age 50, and my choice of test is the colonoscopy.  Yup, I did mine last year and it wasn’t that bad.

However, screening is great, but prevention is better.  So what do you do to prevent the cancer in the first place?

  • Be a healthy weight.
  • Be active
  • Eat the right things.
  • Do not smoke, anything! (Yes, here in Colorado people smoke many things.)

But what are the right things to eat?  First off, forget taking supplements.  For some reason, the best results for colon cancer prevention occur when you eat the right thing, not take it as a supplement.  (Sorry!)

Eat lots of fiber.  Michael Gregor, MD in his book How Not To Dieis a big bean and fiber advocate.  He actually suggests that you weigh your stools, and if total stool weight is less than a half pound, you are not eating enough fiber.  How do you weigh your stools, you ask? Well, weigh yourself before and after you have a bowel movement.  (Seriously!) All kidding aside, we all should bulk up our stools. (Okay, I can’t help myself.) Beans and plants foods are a great way to do this.

Get your phytates.  (What?) A phytate is a naturally compound found in plants that combats the effects of other toxins that are thought to play a key role in causing cancer.  High vegetable, bean eaters have fewer recurreces of polyps in the colon.  Many polyps go on and become cancerous, so having no polyps is a key prevention strategy.

Extra Credit:

Eat lots of berries.  There was a study where patients who had a certain type of inherited predisposition to colon cancer received a concentrated berry suppository (equivalent to EIGHT pounds of raspberries) and had a decrease in number of polyps.  However, the study is highly impractical for the average person, and because berry suppositories are not readily available, and even eating eight pounds of berries is nearly impossible.  However, eating them if available can’t hurt!

Forget supplements: Vitamin C, folate, calcium etc taken as a vitamin pill don’t help. However, eating them in foods is probably helpful, and certainly not harmful.

Who is up for weighting stool?


My home scale. No stool here!


Author: PookieMD

I am a board certified internal medicine physician. I love medicine and seek to bring evidence based medicine to the fitness and wellness world.

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