Colon cancer is the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

It’s also highly preventable.

In addition to getting your colonoscopy regularly and as recommended, you can make changes to your lifestyle that will help you control as many of the risks for colorectal cancer as you can.

What you put in—and keep out of—your mouth can play a role in keeping your colon healthy and cancer-free.

In fact, in a recent study, black Americans who ate a high-fiber African diet for two weeks saw a significant decrease in colon cancer risk factors, while a group of Africans who ate a typical American diet high in animal protein and fat had increased risk factors.

African Americans have higher rates of colon cancer, so this is important finding confirms dietary changes can affect risk, both positively and negatively.

Colon cancer patients also have a better chance of survival if they’ve already been practicing healthy lifestyle habits before their diagnosis. Strongest factors included eating more fruits and veggies and maintaining a normal weight before diagnosis.