There’s no foolproof way to prevent gastrointestinal cancer, but there are steps you can take to help lower your risk:

  • Get screened. Ask your healthcare provider about recommended screenings, such as colonoscopy, and when you should have them done.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. For a general idea of where your weight should be, check your BMI. 
  • Exercise regularly. Check with your health insurance carrier to see if it reimburses its members for costs such as gym memberships or exercise programs. Some insurers have partial coverage for this under the prevention part of a health plan.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. If you’re struggling with your diet, ask your provider for a referral to a dietitian.
  • Avoid tobacco. There’s no shortage of quit-smoking aids on the market; some are available over the counter, while others require a prescription. Ask your provider for a recommendation. Find a smoking cessation class.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation. That typically means up to one drink a day for women; two drinks per day for men. (One drink equals one 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled alcohol.)
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