Colon cancer is the third most common cancer. It usually starts as slow-growing polyps in the lining of the colon if undiscovered it turns malignant over the years. Polyps can be discovered early through colon screening. When colon cancer is discovered early, there is a 90% 5 years survival rate.
Factors that might increase the risk of colon cancer
- Family history of colon cancer.
- Being older.
- A history of inflammatory bowel disease.
- African-American race.
- Inherited genetic syndrome.
- Radiation therapy to treat cancer.
Ways you Can Reduce the Risk of Colon Cancer
Eat lots of Vegetables, fruits and whole grain
These are high in dietary fibre and fibre helps move food through the digestive tract. It is believed that fibre helps detoxify substances that can cause cancer in the intestine and prevents it from being absorbed into the body. These foods also contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which may help in cancer prevention.
Lose extra weight
If you are overweight try and lose the extra weight. Its also important to control belly fat regardless of how much you weigh. Maintain a healthy weight to limit your risk.
Limit consumption of red meat
Reduce the amount of red meat you consume. Eating too much red meat or processed meat can increase the risk of colon cancer. Eat less processed meat such as sausages, bacon, ham and hotdog. Replace red meat with fish and plant base protein.
Get the recommended level of vitamin D and Calcium
Researches have shown that getting vitamin D and calcium may help reduce the risk of colon cancer. Speak to your doctor before taking any supplement.
Colon cancer screening
American cancer foundation recommends that colon cancer screening should be started at 50 for people at average risk. Regular screening is one of the best ways of preventing colon cancer. Polyps discovered at an early stage is removed before it turns cancerous. Those with increased risk like a family history of cancer are encouraged to start screening earlier.
Drink in Moderation and stop smoking
Alcohol may increase the risk of colon cancer. Drink in moderation and if you don’t drink there is no reason to start now. Limit alcohol to just one standard drink for women and not more than two for men.Smokers are more likely to develop colon cancer than non smokers. Quitting smoking may decrease the risk and complications of colon cancer..
Eat more Garlic
Studies have shown that diet rich in garlic may reduce the risk of colon cancer.
When to see your doctor
Some of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions but it’s important to see your doctor if you experience any of the following;
- You have rectal bleeding.
- You feel cramping and abdominal pain.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Weakness and fatigue.
- Changes in bowel habit.