En español | As nutrition director for the American Cancer Society (ACS), Colleen Doyle says she's regularly asked for some miracle list of superfoods that will prevent cancer.
There's no such thing, Doyle says. But there are ways to eat that reduce cancer risk in general, and specifically the risk of colorectal cancer, the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
This year alone there will be 141,200 new cases, ACS predicts, and about 49,400 deaths from the disease. And 90 percent of new cases and 94 percent of deaths will occur in people 50 and older.
The food we eat is among the things we control that can reduce colon cancer risk. When it comes to diet, here is what the ACS advises:
Limit red meat and processed meat. Stats show that eating red meat daily and processed meats several times a week increases colorectal cancer risk. Red meat may raise colon cancer risk because potential carcinogens form when it's cooked at high temperatures, and because the iron in it generates free radicals that can cause cancer-inducing DNA damage. In processed meats, some substances used to prolong shelf life contribute to compounds that can damage DNA.
"I don't think the ACS would tell people, 'Don't even have one hot dog, ever,'" Doyle says, "But if you're somebody who eats cheeseburgers and steaks every day, you want to think about cutting down and looking at alternatives."
Next page: More tips to decrease cancer risks. »