Colorectal (bowel) cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. The lifetime risk in men for developing colorectal cancer is one in 19. In women it’s one in 20. Those are some scary stats when you think about it!

A few lifestyle factors are known to be protective against bowel cancer. A recent study looked at five of these factors in a group of over 55,487 adults aged 50 to 64 for nearly a decade. Over this period, 678 people out of the study group were diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

What the researchers found was encouraging. If participants had followed just one of the recommendations below, 13 percent of the bowel cancer cases could have been prevented. If all participants had followed all five recommendations, then almost one quarter of bowel cancer cases could have been avoided.

This week, think about the following lifestyle recommendations and how they may help save your colon (and your life!):

– At least 30 minutes of daily physical activity
– No more than seven alcoholic drinks per week for women, and 14 for men
– Not smoking
– Maintaining waist circumference below 34 ½ inches for women and 40 inches for men
– Consuming a healthy diet