Ways to Prevent Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is a relatively common form of cancer, with approximately 200,000 cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year, according to the Mayo Clinic. Risk factors such as older age, being male, or family history can play a role in whether or not an individual will develop colon cancer.
Lifestyle also plays a major role in this form of the illness. According to findings by doctors at the National Institute of Health, about 10% of all cases of colon cancer are due to insufficient activity.
Excessive alcohol consumption, and lack of adequate water consumption have also been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer.
Although nothing can be done about your age, gender, or family history, there are ways to prevent Colon Cancer. By taking charge of your own health, and lifestyle, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing the disease.
1. Quit smoking!
If you smoke, get help quitting. There is no mystery about the effects of smoking on the body. Not only does smoking increase your risk of emphysema, heart disease, lung and other kinds of cancer, it is also linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. The American Cancer Society found that smokers were 18% more likely to develop colon cancer, and 25% more likely to die from the disease than non-smokers. The ACA also found that smokers who didn’t quit before they turned 40 had a 30-50% higher risk of developing Colon Cancer. Quitting isn’t easy, but it is one of the most important things you can do for your health.
2. Reduce or eliminate red meat consumption.
According to Harvard Medical School people who consume red meat regularly are 1/3 more likely to develop Colon Cancer than those who steer clear. If you can’t avoid red meat completely, then limit yourself to one serving per week.
3. Limit alcohol.
Various studies show that the consumption of more than 2 drinks per day for women and 3 per day for men can increase the risk of colon cancer. This may be attributed to the lower amount of folic acid in the systems of binge drinkers. If you are at high risk for cancer, eliminate alcohol, otherwise limit yourself to a few drinks per week.
4. Maintain a healthy weight.
Obesity is linked to many illnesses that are rampant today. Heart disease, diabetes, and many forms of cancer are just a few. There is evidence that belly fat in men is the cause of increased risk of Colon Cancer. There is no downside to reducing your overall body fat, and one major upside is reducing your cancer risk.
5. Get moving.
One of the most potent forms of cancer prevention is exercise. Getting regular exercise can reduce your risk of Colon Cancer by as much as 25%. The American Cancer Society recommends 30 minutes of activity at least 5 times per week.
6. Drink green tea.
There are so many studies out touting the benefits of green tea. As far as colon cancer though, a study found a 54% decreased occurrence of colon cancer in Chinese men who regularly drank green tea. More research is underway to determine the effects of green tea consumption of other types of cancer, but the outcome is likely to be the same.
7. Get tested.
Unlike other forms of cancer, getting screened for Colon Cancer can actually prevent the disease! Typically doctors recommend that their patients begin colon cancer screenings at age 50. Screenings include colonoscopy, and iFOBT, or fecal occult blood testing.
8. Know your history.
You don’t truly know your risk unless you know your family history. Find out if any members of your family had colon cancer, or any kind of cancer. Ask questions, and document the answers. Make sure you inform your doctor of anything you find out.
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