Colon cancer (also known as bowel cancer or colorectal cancer) is any cancer that develops in the last part of the digestive system (usually the colon or rectum). It develops when polyps (fleshy growths) start to multiply uncontrollably and is believed to be responsible for over 16,000 deaths in the UK each year. Although there are treatments available one of the best methods for combating bowel cancer is to prevent it from happening in the first place. In this article I will be discussing three things you can do to reduce your risk of ever developing this type of cancer.
1) IMPROVE YOUR DIET:- A study of 500,000 people performed by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) in 2005 suggested that a high intake of red meat could increase your risk of developing colon cancer. The study also suggested that not getting enough fibre could increase your chances of developing this type of cancer. Finally, the study linked regular consumption of fish with a reduced bowel cancer risk.
Therefore, if your diet lacks fibre or fish or you find yourself eating red meat regularly perhaps now is the time to change. If you eat red meat every day try to cut down and eat it just two or three times per week. If fish is not currently part of your diet then try and have a fish dish at least once a week. If you are currently only getting low amounts of fibre try and eat some fruits and vegetables every day. You don’t have to make any drastic changes to your diet but the small adjustments suggested above could really make the difference where colorectal cancer is involved.
2) DO MORE EXERCISE:- Exercise stimulates a process called peristalsis in the colon. This is a muscular contraction which forces waste through the colon and into the rectum. By exercising more regularly you can ensure that waste moves through your body more quickly and therefore reduce the risk of any waste sitting in the colon and leaching back into your body’s tissues. Regular exercise is also believed to increase the survival rate of post treatment bowel cancer patients by as much as 50%. In a study by Meyerhart et al , 573 women with colorectal cancer between stages 1 and 3 were observed for the six months following their treatment. The results showed that the women who increased the amount of exercise they did following their colon cancer diagnosis were around 50% more likely to survive.
Therefore, if you do not currently lead a very active lifestyle try and do something about this. The changes you make do not have to be drastic. In fact many experts suggest that small increases in the amount of physical activity you perform each day can do the trick. If you are not a fan of the gym there are many other options available to you. Try going for a brisk walk on your lunch break, taking the stairs at work or walking to the shops instead of taking the car. All these simple changes can build up to significantly reduce your chances of being affected by colorectal cancer.
3) STOP SMOKING:- Most people know that smoking is directly linked to lung cancer. However, a lot of people are unaware that smoking can also cause other cancers including colon cancer. The reason for this is that cigarettes contain carcinogens (substances which increase your risk of developing cancer) and once inhaled they can reach all areas of the body including the colon. On top of this smoking is believed to increase the size of polyps making them more likely to become cancerous.
If you do smoke then you really should consider quitting. Not only does it increase your risk for multiple types of cancer but it can also damage all your major organs,cause your skin to become wrinkled, turn your teeth yellow and much more. On top of this smoking can also have a negative impact on those around you via the smoke you exhale. Quitting is not going to be easy but if you want to reduce your overall bowel cancer risk and significantly improve your health you should give it a try.
Colorectal cancer is a horrible disease that no one should have to endure. However, by taking the preventative measures discussed in this article you should be able to lower your risk and hopefully avoid this condition completely. Although this type of cancer can be treated prevention is a far better option. Start making the recommend changes today and you should reap the rewards.
Whilst every intention has been made to make this article accurate and informative, it is intended for general information only. Colon cancer is a very serious, life threatening condition and you should discuss any concerns, treatments or lifestyle changes fully with your doctor.
 Meyerhart, J. Edward L. Giovannucci, Michelle D. Holmes, Andrew T. Chan, Jennifer A. Chan, Graham A. Colditz, Charles S. Fuchs., Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol 24, No 22 (August 1), 2006: pp. 3527-3534