6 Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Getting Colon Cancer
Colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among both men and women. Colorectal cancer, which includes cancers of the colon or rectum, often start as a growth called a polyp, on the inner lining of the colon. It can cause a variety of gut-related symptoms, and endanger one’s health if the cancer spreads to other organs in the body.
Since colon cancer is so common, anyone can be at risk of getting it. However, the good news is, you can lower your risk of colorectal cancer by making the right choices in your diet or lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you keep colon cancer at bay.
Maintain a healthy weight
As you may know, being overweight or obese increases your risk of having serious health conditions like diabetes, pancreatic cancer, and colon cancer. There are several possible explanations of how obesity raises the risk of getting colon cancer.
Obesity increases the risk for inflammation in the body, including in the large intestines. Increased blood levels of insulin in obese persons can also promote the growth of cancer cells, such as in the colon walls. Obesity is also strongly associated with higher leptin production, which acts as a growth factor to promote tumour growth.
Adopt a high-fibre, low-fat diet
Dietary fats from red meat and processed meat are contributors to the increased risk of colon cancer. High fat consumption will increase the production of bile acids. When large amounts of bile acid is converted to secondary bile acids, this could promote tumour growth. Instead, eating more fibre-rich foods have been found to lower one’s chances of contracting colon cancer. Example of high fibre foods are vegetables, fruits and grains.
Be physically active
Higher levels of physical activity have been linked to a lower risk of colon cancer. Physical activities include walking, running, swimming and many more. Exercise has many positive effects on the body, and lowering the risk for colon cancer is one of them.
Regular physical activity keeps blood insulin levels in check, and facilitates healthy bowel movement, reducing the time that food spends in the gastrointestinal tract. Exercise can also alter the metabolism of bile acids, reducing the risk of bile-acid-initiated colon cancer.
Needless to say, smoking is bad for your health. Smoking is linked to an increased risk of colon cancer, as well as many other health problems. When you smoke, you are inhaling chemicals and toxins into your body, including free radicals that damage DNA and mutate healthy cells. Free radicals can influence the growth of more aggressive polyps in the large intestines, thus increasing the risk of colon cancer.
Drinking alcohol increases the risk of colon cancer. The body metabolises alcohol by breaking it down into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde can damage DNA in colon cells and cause mutations of cells that increases your risk of polyps.
Although colon cancer more commonly affects older adults, smokers, and drinkers, no one is perfectly safe from it. Use these tips to lower your risk, and keep up with regular check-ups and screenings to identify early colon cancer symptoms before it’s too late!