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6 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Colorectal Cancer

Written by Courteney

Posted on November 5, 2016 at 2:04 am

Colorectal cancer, also known as colon, rectal or bowel cancer, is cancer that develops from a malignant polyp or tumor somewhere within the bowel tract. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is the second most common form, second to lung cancer. The American Cancer Society predicts 136,830 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the United States this year, and over 50,000 will die of it. So, what can you do to reduce your risk of developing this terrible disease? Let’s take a look.

Can Bowel Cancer Be Prevented?

As with most diseases, there is no way to ensure 100% prevention but there are things you can do to drastically reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer. Some of which include:

  1. Modify your diet: Maintain a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables. Limit your intake of animal products (especially red meat), and try to avoid processed meats as they have been linked to increased risk of colorectal cancer. Try to decrease saturated fats and increase fiber intake as well.
  2. Increase activity: Be sure to exercise at least 3 times weekly (ideally every day) to help lessen your risk of many diseases, like bowel cancer. Leading a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute risk.
  3. Watch your waistline: Try to keep your weight within the healthy range for your height, as being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing many diseases, especially bowel cancer. Particularly men who carry their weight around their bellies are at higher risk.
  4. Avoid deficiencies: Specifically, vitamin D and calcium deficiencies can potentially contribute to bowel cancer if left unchecked for too long. Any deficiency is bad news, so be sure to get your vitamin levels checked and keep them up.
  5. Watch indulgences: try not to let your alcohol intake climb too high, and try to quit or avoid smoking as both can raise your risk of developing colorectal cancer (and many other types).
  6. Get Screened Regularly: It can take over 10 years for a problematic polyp to grow into bowel cancer, and early detection is key for better outcomes, so be sure to get screened! Regular screening is especially important for anyone 50 years of age or older, or anyone who has increased risk factors, such as genetic history of colorectal cancer.

What are the Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

Many cases are asymptomatic until it is discovered, but in other cases people may experience:

  • Changes in your bathroom habits (such as going more frequently, having diarrhea or constipation)
  • Difficulty fully evacuating the bowels
  • Vomiting
  • Chronic bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach pain
  • Blood in the stools or vomit
  • A lump
  • Unwarranted weight loss
  • In some cases, an iron deficiency in men may be cause to investigate

While many of these symptoms can be attributed to other conditions, it is important to talk to a doctor about your symptoms. Thanks for visiting DocChat!

 

 

 

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