With colon cancer now the second-highest cause of cancer deaths in the United States, getting treatment is important and maintaining proper diet and lifestyle choices after treatment is crucial in preventing recurrence. Though your appetite may be lessened on the whole while recovering from surgery or chemotherapy, research has shown that avoiding unhealthy food choices can greatly improve your chances of survival. From what you eat to other potential lifestyle factors, here are some ways to optimize your post-treatment decisions to beat colon cancer.
The Cancer-Free Diet
Research has linked several food items to a higher recurrence of colon cancer, like white bread and other refined grains, red and processed meat, French fries and all kinds of sweets. Your first step in developing a cancer-free diet should be to avoid these kinds of food items. So what should you eat? Below are the kinds of foods to get more of and why:
- Dairy: Calcium & vitamin D, prevalent in dairy products, can help to prevent colon cancer. Be sure to add low-fat dairy products to your diet, including yogurt and milk. You should get about three to four servings of dairy per day in a well-balanced diet.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Low levels of folic acid, which is present in leafy green vegetables, have been linked to an increase in the development and quickened growth of colon cancer. Make sure to eat plenty of leafy green vegetables and high-nutrient fruits like berries, mangos, cantaloupes and apricots. Remember to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Whole Grains: Filled with fiber and other nutrients that promote a healthy, cancer-free colon, whole grains are crucial in any post-treatment diet. Try to incorporate whole grain products everywhere you can by eating whole grain bread and rice.
Change Your Lifestyle
Along with avoiding unhealthy foods, eliminating certain unhealthy lifestyle factors can help reduce your risk of cancerous growth. You should limit your consumption of alcohol or cease drinking alcohol altogether. Additionally, smoking has been identified as a risk factor for colorectal cancer, so if you’re a smoker, now is the time to quit.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle after treatment is one of the most important ways to keep cancer from recurring. As your colorectal surgeon is the individual best equipped to offer advice on your continued health and wellness, contact your surgeon with any questions about diet or lifestyle practices after treatment for colon cancer.