March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and across the country patients, survivors, health care workers, caregivers, and loved ones will wear blue on Friday, March 6 to show their support. It’s one of the most preventable and treatable cancers, yet thousands die across the country each year. Dress in Blue Day, founded by the Colon Cancer Alliance, will help drive crucially needed funds toward the organization's efforts in order to administer more screenings and provide education, such as nutrition's role in risk alleviation, to the public.

Colon cancer is one of the highest leading causes of cancer deaths in both men and women in America, second only to lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society’s 2013 figures. Any type of cancer diagnosis can be scary and overwhelming, which is what makes awareness and fundraising the strongest tools to combat cancer with courage. The various dangers, prevention methods, and treatment approaches for colon cancer are not widely known because of the colon’s location. Given that it's connected to the anus, people may be reluctant, shy, or embarrassed to talk about it.

The amount of research funds a disease or condition receives is reflective of the amount of marketing and public awareness it receives. Colon cancer patients may be unaware of their treatment options, while others may not even know enough to turn to screening for the earliest possible detection. Today in America there are more than one million colon cancer survivors, which is great news for the strides disease marketing has made. However, every person who has a parent, sibling, or child with colon cancer is at a two to three times higher risk than the general population.

Colon cancer screenings save lives every day and are especially important for those 50 years and older, because 90 percent of all new cases occur in that age bracket. Screenings have a higher enough level of precision that can detect precancerous polyps before they turn into full blown cancer. Color cancer is highly curable when it’s found in early stages.

Diet is one way to help give your colon the best fighting chance at avoiding a cancer diagnosis. Because cancer develops from abnormal cell growth in the lining of the large intestine, also called the colon or rectum, nutrition can play a large part as food passes through.

Colon Cancer Food Fighters:

1. Avocados

Fiber is especially important because it processes smoothly through the gut and lowers the risk of developing polyps. High fiber products such as whole grains, brown rice oatmeal, and black beans will do the trick.

2. Sweet potatoes

Antioxidant-rich foods are a good choice to ward off any type of cancerous cells because they prevent the oxidative damage that ups your risk. Foods such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and carrots are ideal sources to choose from.

3. Ginger

Spices act as anti-inflammatories that work to kill colon cancer cells. Spice up your foods with garlic, turmeric, oregano, and onions for blasts of cancer-fighting flavor.

4. Yogurt

Probiotics stimulate the gut and provide good bacteria to maintain a healthy environment for your colon. Mix pickles, dark chocolate, miso soup, and apple cider vinegar into your diet to achieve the added benefits.

Colon Cancer Foods
Colon cancer is largely preventable just by adding a certain array of foods into the diet. Photo courtesy of Abe's Market