The colon, also known as the large intestine, is where the body extracts water and salt from solid wastes. The waste then passes via the rectum before exiting the body through the anus. Colon cancer is also the third leading cause of cancer death. In reality, the Cancer Society predicts that 101,420 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer in 2019. From the age of 50, healthcare providers prescribe routine checks for colon cancer. Colorectal cancer, which refers to the co-occurrence of colon and rectal cancer, is also widespread. Rectal cancer develops in the rectum, which is the last few inches of the large intestine nearest to the anus. Read on below to learn how to prevent Colon Cancer.
How to Prevent Colon Cancer
Colon cancer does not get the same level of treatment as other, more visible tumours, but it does. With 140,000 patients diagnosed each year, it is the third most prevalent cancer in India. Furthermore, over a million men and women have a family history of the condition. The good thing about colon cancer is that it can be avoided. Seventy-five per cent of the incidents could be stopped if you took those precautions. Use these tips to help you reduce the chance. Start with one or two and work your way up. It’s for your fitness. Take command.
What is Colon Cancer
Colon cancer, bowel cancer, and rectal cancer are also names for colorectal cancer. Physicians usually classify it based on where the tumour starts. Colorectal cancer develops as cancers or polyps form in the lining of the colon or the rectum, the end portion of the large intestine. When tumours and polyps are not removed promptly, they may develop and become cancerous. They will also migrate to the other layers of the large intestine, exacerbating the disease. It can be avoided by following certain tips and dietary changes. Learn how to prevent colon cancer below.
Some risk factors for colon cancer include modifiable, hereditary and medical factors such as:
- Family or personal history of colorectal cancer
- High consumption of red and/or processed meat
- Long-term smoking
- Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Low calcium intake
- Low intake of fruits and vegetables
- Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption
- Low intake of whole-grain fibre
- Physical inactivity
- Personal history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease
- Type 2 diabetes
Colon Cancer Prevention
Here are a few tips you can follow to prevent colon cancer.
1. Get screened
Screenings are procedures that check for cancer before symptoms appear. These tests can detect colon or rectal cancer at an early stage, where therapies are more likely to be effective. For patients at medium risk, the American Cancer Society advises beginning tests at the age of 45. Precancerous growths (polyps) in the colon or rectum may also be detected and removed using certain colorectal screening tests. Polyps are not cancer, but cancer can begin in polyps over time. Removing them reduces the chance of developing cancer. Consult the doctor on when you can begin screening and which exams are appropriate for you.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
Though for smoking, nothing increases the overall risk of cancer more than obesity. Weight gain and obesity have been attributed to at least 11 various diseases, including colon cancer. A good starting point is to weigh around what you did when you were 18 years old. Realistically, once you’ve gained weight, the priority should be to avoid gaining weight, which has its own set of health benefits. Then, for an even bigger fitness benefit, gradually work to shed those pounds.
3. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
Diets high in greens, citrus, and whole grains have been attributed to a lower risk of colon or rectal cancer. Reduce the consumption of red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) and refined meats (hot dogs and other luncheon meats), which have been attributed to an elevated risk of colorectal cancer.
4. Quit smoking
It barely needs to be said, but quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do for your health. Smoking is a significant cause of at least 14 various cancers, including bowel cancer, in addition to increasing the incidence of severe diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and emphysema. If you smoke, stopping has immediate benefits that begin shortly after your last cigarette. Speaking with a doctor will increase the chances of success.
Daily exercise is difficult to beat. It reduces the risk of multiple chronic illnesses, including colon cancer, and gives you a mental boost. Every amount of physical exercise is preferable to zero, but it is best to strive for 30 minutes or more of moderate activity each day. Choose activities that you love, such as fast walking, swimming, dancing, or gardening.
6. Avoid alcohol
When it comes to wellbeing, alcohol is a curious thing. In moderation, it is heart-healthy, but even at low doses, it can raise the risk of colon and other cancers. So, what does all of this mean? If you drink in moderation (up to one drink a day for women, two drinks per day for men), there’s still no need to quit. There’s no need for you to start drinking if you don’t already. Heavy drinkers should aim to reduce their intake or leave.
7. Consume enough calcium and vitamin D
There is strong evidence that adequate calcium and vitamin D intake will help protect against colon cancer. Aim for 1,000 to 1,200 milligrammes of calcium per day and 1,000 foreign units (IU) of vitamin D per day. Some organisations advise checking for vitamin D deficiency, especially in those at high risk of deficiency, such as those living in northern areas of the world, as well as the aged, very overweight individuals, and people with darker skin.
Best Foods for your Colon
To avoid tumour development, the colon needs an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, and flavonoids. Dietary fibre is also important because it facilitates frequent bowel movements and aids in the reduction of bacteria buildup. The food groups mentioned below will help you avoid the onset of colon cancer.
Fresh fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids may aid in the reduction of inflammation in the body. In reality, a Vanderbilt University study discovered that women who eat three servings of fish per week have a 33 per cent lower chance of developing colon polyps. Baked or smoked fish, tuna, and sardines are excellent choices since they are high in vitamin D and calcium.
Fruits are high in antioxidants, fibre, and species-specific phytochemicals, which can help shield you from digestive issues. Apples, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, pear, and raspberries are high in nutrition.
3. Non-starchy vegetables
Filling two-thirds of the plate with plant-based foods is a good rule of thumb for better health since they are high in fibre, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. However, the Diabetes Association recommends focusing on non-starchy vegetables to reduce your chance of type 2 diabetes, which is another risk factor for colon cancer. Consume at least 3-5 servings of non-starchy vegetables per day, such as lettuce, kale, cucumbers, artichokes, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, okra, and spinach.
4. White Meat
Protein is essential for muscle formation, tissue growth, and other functions. And, because you can restrict the intake to red meat, skinless chicken or turkey are better alternatives. Eggs are another viable choice.
5. Whole Grain
Whole grains are another fibre rich food category that goes along with fish, milk, and white meat. Brown rice, rye, oatmeal, and quinoa are the healthiest choices.
Consuming at least two one-ounce servings of nuts a week will help keep your blood sugar and insulin levels stable, lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Nuts will also help reduce the risk of colon cancer since they are high in safe fatty acids, fibre, and flavonoids. Tree nuts such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, and macadamia nuts are your best bet.
7. Beans and Legumes
Beans, lentils, peas, pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans are high in protein, fibre, vitamins B and E. Aside from the colon health benefits and defence, beans and legumes can also help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
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Colon cancer often causes no symptoms in the earliest stages. However, symptoms may become more noticeable as it progresses.
These signs and symptoms may include:
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Changes in stool consistency
- Loose, narrow stools
- Blood in the stool, which may or may not be visible
- Abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, or gas
- Continual urges to defecate despite passing stools
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Iron-deficiency anaemia
If cancer spreads to a new location in the body, such as the liver, it can cause additional symptoms in the new area.
Good eating options are important in the prevention of colon cancer. Although this guide will help you decide which foods to avoid and which to consume more of, it is also better to see a doctor for a colorectal cancer test because this condition seldom shows symptoms until it has progressed to a more severe level. Doctors used to assume that consuming a high-fibre diet will help avoid colorectal cancer. Several major trials, including one from Harvard, showed that a high fibre intake provided no defence against this type of cancer. However, fibre is also essential for digestive health and can help with constipation. Increased fibre consumption is also linked to a reduced chance of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
According to one report, an extra 7 grammes of total fibre consumed every day results in a slightly lower risk of heart disease. The Institute of Medicine advises that women over the age of 50 consume 21 grammes per day, while men over the age of 50 consume 30 grammes per day. Fibre is best obtained from foods such as rice, whole grains, tomatoes, and fruits.
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