BENGALURU: Over eight million people around the world are affected by various types of cancers every year. Globally, Colorectal Cancer (CRC) is on the rise by being the third most predominant cancer and the scenario in not much different in India either.
Survival chances are reduced to a great extent as a lot of CRC cases are diagnosed late. This is one of the major reasons why people should focus on the prevention of CRC rather than letting the disease affect your living. The chances of CRC can be reduced by adopting a few lifestyle changes.
Most research done on CRC indicates that individuals above 50 years are most vulnerable, and doctors stress on regular screening for people who are in this age group. However, some simple changes in lifestyle help avoid colorectal cancer.
Include lot of vegetables, fruits and whole grains in your diet, as these foods have been linked with a decreased risk of colon cancer. Reduce intake of red meat, smoked food and processed foods, which increase the risk of being detected with CRC.
Choose fresh juices, vegetables, fresh baked confectionaries, freshly cut fruits over processed and packaged food. The additives in processed foods can accumulate in the body over time, eventually causing damage at the cellular level.
Colon screenings can often detect growths called polyps which can be operated out before they turn cancerous. These tests also can detect colon cancer earlier, when treatments are more likely to be successful.
Exercise on a Regular Basis
A physically active lifestyle will reduce the chances of developing CRC. Regular exercise leads to changes in the body (like less inflammation, better immune function, and higher levels of natural antioxidants) that decrease the risk of cancer.
Watch your Weight
Being overweight or obese will increase the risk of having colorectal cancer by 30% along with an increase in the likelihood of poor treatment outcomes and resultant complications. Consumption of healthier foods and an increase in your physical activity can help you control your weight.
Limit Smoking and Alcohol
Long-term cigarette smokers are more likely to develop colon cancer, than non-smokers. Alcohol also increases the risk of cancer to a great extent. Ethanol present in alcohol is converted into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde.
Acetaldehyde damages the DNA and stops cells from repairing this damage. Doctors recommend only one drink a day for women and two drinks for men. Moreover, drinking and smoking together raises the risk of colon cancers far more than the effects of either drinking or smoking alone.
These healthy choices can not only reduce the risk of colon cancer but can also help you lead a better life by fortifying your immune system.
(The author is Senior Consultant, Medical Oncology, Cytecare Hospital)