Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States. Though this is partially misleading, as the term colorectal cancer in fact refers to two separate cancers, that of the colon and/or the rectum), it is one condition that everyone would benefit from taking precautions against.
If you are over the age of 50, have a family history of colon cancer or have a personal history of intestinal conditions like colorectal polyps or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), then you might be at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Whether you are at an increased risk for colon cancer or not, taking healthy, preventative steps is a wise choice. You can do this by talking with your colorectal specialist about the proper preventative screening methods and taking steps to avoid lifestyle factors like tobacco and alcohol use that increase your risk of the disease.
Natural Steps to Reduce Your Risk of Colon Cancer
While eating a healthy diet and making healthy choices can’t eliminate your risk of colon cancer, you can benefit from a reduced likelihood of a cancer diagnosis. The British Medicine Journal published a study earlier this year that marked five components of a healthy lifestyle that are statistically shown to contribute to a reduced risk of colon cancer.
To establish these lifestyle factors, researchers examined over 55,000 adults for more than a decade. By their estimate, following all of these habits may reduce a healthy adult’s risk of colorectal cancer by over 20 percent. While this risk reduction is different for those suffering from IBD, incorporating these factors into your lifestyle may still prove beneficial.
Here are a few natural steps that you can take to reduce your colorectal cancer risk:
- Follow a Healthy Diet: Making small changes to your diet like reducing the amount of red meat that you eat and increasing your fruit and vegetable intake can potentially reduce your colorectal cancer risk.
- Exercise Every Day: Engaging in physical activity helps prevent weight gain, enhances blood circulation and improves your overall health. For the best benefit, exercise for at least 30 minutes every day.
- Refrain from Tobacco Use: Smoking is the number one preventable cause of cancer worldwide. Smoking tobacco and inhaling second hand smoke both negatively affect your health. If you have IBD, then it is especially important that you do not increase your risk of cancer by smoking.
- Limit Alcohol Consumption: Drinking alcohol in moderation is not linked to any severe health concerns, but overindulging or binge drinking can have serious health consequences. Alcohol is particularly abrasive to the digestive tract so it’s important to limit your consumption.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Being overweight increases your risk of developing numerous types of cancers, including colorectal. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help moderate your weight, which will also help reduce your risk of colon cancer.
The most effective preventative health measure that you can take is to be in close contact with your physician. If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, you also may be at risk for the disease. Talk with your colorectal specialist about any risks you may have. Early detection is the best form of treatment for any type of cancer.