As with all diseases, prevention is the best cure when it comes to colorectal cancer. Colon cancer and rectal cancer, usually grouped together as colorectal cancer because they are both diseases of the large intestine. Effective prevention therefore has enormous potential to improve the health of individuals and the public as a whole.
Here are the 7 most effective ways to prevent colon cancer and rectal cancer.
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Men and women who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop colorectal cancer. The danger seems to be particularly high for men, especially those who accumulate extra pounds around the waist. A study published in October 2018 in the journal JAMA Oncology followed the health of more than 85,000 women for 22 years and found that the higher a woman’s body mass index (BMI), the greater the risk of developing colorectal cancer before age 50 is important. The study found that women aged 20-49 considered overweight or obese were up to twice as likely to develop early-stage colorectal cancer, compared to women with the lowest BMIs. .
2. Exercise more, harder
Regular, moderate exercise, that is, exercise that slightly increases your heart rate, such as brisk walking, reduces the risk of colon and rectal cancer. But it’s vigorous exercise that seems to offer the greatest benefits. A study of more than 1.4 million people, published in June 2016 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that higher levels of physical activity, compared to lower levels, were associated with a risk of 16% lower colon cancer and 13% lower rectal cancer risk.
3. Rethink your diet: increase your fruit and vegetable intake
Many studies have confirmed that diet plays a role in many colorectal cancers. Eating red meat (beef and lamb) and some processed meats (like sausages and hot dogs) appears to increase colorectal cancer risk, so it makes sense to limit these foods. Diets high in fruits and vegetables appear to reduce the risk of colon and rectal cancer. To prevent illness, increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. A number of large studies have suggested that dietary fiber may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
4. Avoid drinking alcohol to excess
Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption has been associated with a higher risk of colon and rectal cancers. The evidence for this link is generally stronger in men than in women, but studies have found a link between both genders.
5. Don’t take a cigarette
Most people know that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer, but are less aware of its link to colon cancer and rectal cancer.
6. Take aspirin or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, but only with the doctor’s approval.
There is good evidence that people who take aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, reduce their risk of colorectal cancer.
However, it is necessary to weigh the potential benefits against the possible side effects, some of which are quite serious, such as stomach ulcers.
7. Get Regular Colon Cancer Screening Tests
Screening tests aim to identify colorectal cancer in people who do not have typical symptoms, such as bloody stools or abdominal pain. They can help spot colorectal cancer at an early stage and identify precancerous colorectal polyps (abnormal growths). There are two types of screening tests: stool-based tests and visual examinations. Stool-based screening tests analyze stool samples for occult (hidden) blood or abnormal sections of DNA.
It is quite easy to take samples at home and send them to a medical laboratory. But the tests must be carried out quite frequently, or even every year. There are a number of different colorectal visual exams, but the gold standard is colonoscopy. During this procedure, while the patient is sedated, doctors examine the inside of the colon and rectum using a device inserted through the anus: a long flexible tube with a tiny video camera at its end. Before this procedure, patients should cleanse the colon and rectum, which involves drinking a strong laxative solution.
During a colonoscopy, doctors can remove and biopsy any polyps they find, which can help determine if a growth is cancerous, precancerous, or benign. The removal of polyps detected by screening is one of the reasons why death rates from colorectal cancer have declined over the past few decades. Colorectal screening also offers the advantage of detecting and treating colorectal cancer when it is still localized, that is, when it has not spread beyond the large intestine. Cancer detected and treated at this early stage has a five-year survival rate of about 90%.