6 Tips To Reduce The Risk Of Developing Colon Cancer

Date February 5, 2018 17:50

What is colon cancer?

Also known as bowel or colorectal cancer (CRC), colon cancer is a type which forms in parts of the large intestine. As it is with any other kind of cancer, it is characterized by the abnormal growth of cells that often spread and invade other parts of the body. Cancer usually starts out as a benign tumor in the form of a polyp, which becomes cancerous over time.

American Cancer Society has published a rather alarming statistics that shows that 5% of the population suffers from colon cancer at a certain point in their lives. Unfortunately, this terrible disease is almost undetectable in its early stages. However, some symptoms can be used to identify colon cancer. They include the following:

  • blood in the stool;
  • change in bowel movements;
  • weight loss;
  • feeling tired all the time.

Scientists haven't fully explored the causes of colon cancer, but there are some recurring factors observed in patient studies. Apart from old age, there is also a plethora of poor lifestyle choices that hugely increase the chances of developing colon cancer. They include:

  • obesity;
  • smoking;
  • lack of physical activity;
  • eating too much red and processed meat;
  • alcohol consumption.

Unfortunately, there are factors that we cannot influence. Hereditary genetic disorders, such as familial adenomatous polyposis, can produce cancer later in life.

Tips to reduce the risk

Seeing how colon cancer is predominantly caused by lifestyle, there is a lot you can do to prevent the development of the disease. The tips include advice on how to lead a healthier life and put yourself out of the high-risk zone.

1. Get screened

First and foremost is getting a regular check-up to test for growths inside your large intestine. Screening is crucial since it can find the polyps before any of the symptoms appear. Locating them in time means they can be removed before they become cancerous. According to American Cancer Society, everyone should start doing tests regularly as soon as they turn 50.

2. No smoking!

You all very well know that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and heart diseases. Scientists have also proven direct causation between cigarettes and colon cancer. People that are smoking for more than 40 years are especially at risk since there is 50% chance they will develop rectal or colon cancer.

3. Avoid alcohol

One or two drinks per day are perfectly fine, but consuming alcohol in greater quantities puts you right up to the top of the list for getting colon cancer. Note that the type of the alcoholic beverage is of no importance as it makes no difference to the risk percentage. If you drink more than four drinks a day, you have 52% more chance than a non-drinker.

4. Change your diet

Instead of eating red meat, such as pork or processed products (sausages, beef jerky, bacon, etc.), try focusing your diet on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Eating lighter food will also better regulate your weight since obesity is one of the most prominent risk factors.

5. Exercise regularly

Being physically active is, of course, beneficial for both mental and physical health, but studies have shown that keeping fit reduces the risk of cancer. Tightening your waistline will only do good for you, and by evading obesity, you are seriously reducing the risk of developing colon cancer.

6. Increase your vitamin intake

According to Durado Brooks, MD, director of colorectal and prostate cancers at the American Cancer Society, controlled intake of vitamin D and calcium lowers the risk significantly. The recommended dose is 1.000 or 1.200 mg of calcium daily depending on age and 600 or 800 International Units of vitamin D for both men and women.

To summarize, leading a healthy life will not only do wonders for your body and mind but will also help with reducing the chances of developing colon cancer. Consult with your physician about making an appointment for screening as well as finding the correct vitamin dosage.

This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.