Although incidents of colon cancer have been dropping since the 1990’s at the rate of around 1% a year, it is still one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in America. And if resulting surgery and re-sectioning of the colon results in the placement of a colostomy, the social and psychological consequences for patients can be severe. Fortunately, there are steps that everyday people can take to help lower their risk for developing colon cancer and avoiding these potential issues. Below, some of the best ways to reduce colon cancer risk are discussed at length.
This may come as a surprise to people who mostly associate smoking with lung cancer, but smoking cessation can also lower the risk of developing colon cancer as well. The exact reasons for this are not known, but recent Surgeon General’s warnings have attempted to alert the public to this newly-discovered smoking danger.
Many new studies suggest that prolonged sitting and inactivity in general can be responsible for a whopping 40,000 new cases of colon cancer every single year. The key to avoiding this is simply to move. Even something as simple as walking the dog around the block a times a day can help increased overall activity and thus decrease colon cancer risk.
Studies have consistently shown that those who are overweight or obese – and particularly those who carry extra weight around their abdominal area — have on average a 25% greater chance of developing colon cancer than their thinner counterparts. Weight loss, however, can help reduce this risk.
Red Meat Elimination
Although the reason for the relationship is still not clear, multiple studies have found a link between high rates of red meat consumption and the development of colon cancer. More and more healthcare professionals are suggesting that patients who want to continue to eat meat try to focus on poultry, fish and other white meat instead of beef, veal, lamb or pork.
Scientists have also noted that in countries which follow a diet high in sugar (and especially in forms like high fructose corn syrup) that colon cancer levels are on the rise. While the link between these two things is not entirely clear, some speculate it is due to the effect that sugars have on weight gain, which is a definite risk factor for colon cancer.
Most of the recommendations above are simply a matter of following lifestyle habits that are good for everyone, no matter what their medical history. Specifically, though, choices like smoking cessation, a healthy diet and exercise can help greatly reduce the risk of developing this serious and still common form of cancer.
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