10 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is on the rise in India. While there is no surefire way to prevent colorectal cancer, several lifestyle and dietary changes can help reduce your risk of developing this disease.
The Indian Council of Medical Research estimates that colorectal cancer accounts for about 11% of all cancer cases in India, making it the second leading cause of death due to cancer.
The mortality rate associated with colorectal cancer is also concerning, as it accounts for more than 8% of all cancer-related deaths in India annually.
In this article, we’ll discuss 10 simple but essential ways to lower your risk of colorectal cancer.
From diet modifications to physical activity improvements and recognizing possible signs and symptoms, these tips can help decrease your chances of developing this serious disease.
Screening for colorectal cancer is an important part of proactive health care, as early detection can significantly reduce your risk of developing this serious disease
Getting regular screenings helps to detect any precancerous polyps in the colon before they become cancerous and can also diagnose cancer in its earlier stages when it is more treatable.
Several tests for colorectal cancer screening are available, including the faecal occult blood test (FOBT), sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy.
Each test involves collecting samples from within the rectum and colon.
Depending on your age and past medical history, your doctor may recommend one or more screenings every year to ensure that any changes indicative of colorectal cancer are detected promptly.
Broccoli is a powerhouse of essential nutrients, including vitamins C and K, folate, fibre, and carotenoids.
However, its most promising anti-cancer properties come from two specific compounds – sulforaphane and glucoraphanin.
These compounds are found in particularly high levels of broccoli sprouts and mature broccoli plants.
Studies have shown that the compounds may help reduce inflammation and protect against oxidative cell damage, which can lead to tumour growth.
Additionally, some studies have found a correlation between increased broccoli consumption and lower rates of colorectal cancer.
One study published in Nutrition & Cancer showed that individuals who ate three or more broccoli per week had a 40% reduced risk for colorectal cancer compared to those who ate only one serving or less per month.
Also Read : How to Know If You Have Colon Cancer
Regular physical activity has been shown to help reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Exercise helps the body maintain a healthy weight, strengthens the immune system, and can help reduce inflammation, which may be linked to cancer development.
- To incorporate exercise into your daily life, set achievable and realistic goals.
- Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity daily – walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, or any other aerobic exercise will count towards your goal.
- Try to fit exercise into your daily routine – take the stairs instead of the elevator or go for a brisk walk during your lunch break.
Find an activity you enjoy and make it part of your routine – take up a sport like a tennis or join a yoga class with friends.
Working out with others can keep you motivated and make exercising more fun!
Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for colorectal cancer.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 different chemicals, and many of these are known to cause cancer.
Long-term smokers are up to four times more likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who have never smoked.
Quitting smoking is not easy, and it may take multiple attempts.
However, quitting smoking can reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer by up to half and improve overall health.
Various resources are available to help you quit, such as counselling, medication or support groups.
Talk to your doctor or oncologist about which option might be best for you.
Moderate Alcohol Consumption
Research studies have found that drinking alcohol can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
Consuming more than three alcoholic drinks per day can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by over 50%.
It is recommended to drink alcohol in moderation and keep your intake of alcohol below two drinks per day.
Be mindful of the amount you consume, and consider alternating an extra glass of water between each alcoholic drink to help you stay hydrated and reduce your overall consumption.
Also Read : Stage 1 colon cancer symptoms
Maintain Healthy Weight
Studies have shown that those who are overweight or obese are about two times more likely to develop this type of cancer than those with normal body weight.
Maintaining a healthy weight reduces your risk of colorectal cancer and other diseases.
To maintain a healthy weight, getting regular physical activity, eating a balanced diet, and managing your stress levels are important.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise five days per week, and ensure you eat nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Reduce Red and Processed Meat Consumption
Too much red and processed meats can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
Red and processed meats contain compounds known to damage the colon’s lining, increasing the risk of cancer.
Limiting your consumption of red meat to no more than two servings per week and avoiding processed meats altogether is recommended.
Instead of consuming red and processed meat, use other protein sources such as chicken, fish, beans, nuts, and tofu.
Plant-based proteins are a great way to get essential nutrients without increasing your risk of colorectal cancer.
Additionally, adding more vegetables and whole grains into your diet can help provide important vitamins, minerals, and fibre which may help reduce inflammation.
Increase Fibre Intake
Increasing dietary fibre intake has been linked to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.
Fibre is beneficial because it helps remove toxins and waste from the body and promotes healthy colon function.
Additionally, consuming high-fiber foods increases satiety, which may help prevent overeating and promote healthy weight management.
Getting at least 25 to 30 grams of fibre per day is recommended through food sources.
Good sources of fibre include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, and seeds, as well as psyllium husk or other soluble fibres found in supplements.
Small changes such as substituting white bread for whole grain bread and adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet can help you reach your daily fibre goals.
Minimize Exposure to Toxins
Exposure to certain toxins and chemicals can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
Certain chemicals found in pesticides, air pollution, and household products are known to be carcinogenic, meaning they can cause or promote cancer-causing changes in cells.
To reduce exposure to these toxins and chemicals, limiting or avoiding using products that contain known carcinogens such as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) is important.
It is also recommended to purchase organic produce whenever possible, as conventionally grown produce may have higher levels of pesticide residue.
Additionally, avoiding smoking and secondhand smoke can help reduce your exposure to carcinogenic compounds.
Manage Chronic Conditions
Chronic conditions such as diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can increase your risk of colorectal cancer.
This is because both conditions cause inflammation, which can damage the gut. Additionally, people with certain forms of diabetes are linked to a higher risk for colorectal cancer.
It is important to manage any chronic condition you may have to reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Managing diabetes involves regular blood sugar checks, healthy eating habits, physical activity, and medication or insulin therapy.
For those with IBD, managing diet and lifestyle factors, such as limiting stress, is essential for maintaining optimal health and reducing inflammation.
Additionally, medications may be prescribed if needed to help manage flare-ups or other symptoms associated with IBD.
In this article, we discussed 10 strategies for reducing the risk of colorectal cancer.
Implementing these strategies into your everyday life can help reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer and may even help lead to a longer and healthier life.
Remember, prevention is always the best medicine.
Talk to your doctor about additional steps that you can take to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer or any other health-related problem.
Dr. Praveen Kammar
Years Of Experience
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