Colon cancer, or colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that begins in the large intestine, the final part of the digestive tract. This type of cancer normally begins as small, benign clumps of cells, known as polyps, that will form on the inside of the colon, and over time they can become cancerous. Polyps produce very few symptoms, if any, and it’s recommended to get regular screenings to identify and remove them.
There are various risk factors and means to prevent colon cancer, including the following:
1. Risk factors
Some of the commonest risk factors of colon cancer include:
- Inflammatory intestinal conditions
The colon’s chronic inflammatory diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease could increase your risk of colon cancer.
- Personal medical history
If one has already had a personal history of non-cancerous cotton polyps or colorectal cancer, then they are at a greater risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer in the future.
It has been seen that people with African-American heritage are at greater risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer as compared to people of other races.
While it is true that colon cancer could be contracted and diagnosed at any age, it is the geriatric public who are more prone to it. A majority of people suffering from colon cancer are above 50 years.
Some of the other factors include obesity, diabetes, sedentary lifestyles, bad diets, a family history of having colon cancer, and inherited syndromes.
2. Screening colon cancer
According to doctors, people with average risk of colon cancer should consider screening for colon cancer around the age of 50 years. However, those with increased risk chances need to screen for colon cancer earlier. People need to discuss treatment options with their doctor and decide which tests are appropriate for them.
3. Lifestyle changes
One of the biggest ways to prevent colon cancer is by making lifestyle changes. One can take the following steps to lessen their risk of colon cancer by making changes in their everyday lives.
- Maintaining a healthy weight
If you are obese or overweight, ask your doctor about how to achieve that goal in a healthy manner. Aim to lose weight slowly by increasing the amount of exercise your body is getting and reducing the number of calories you eat. If you are at a healthy weight, you need to combine daily exercise with a healthy diet to work towards maintaining your weight.
- Eating a variety of whole grains, veggies, and fruits
Whole grains, vegetables, and fruits contain antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins, all of which could play a major role in preventing colon cancer. Choose a wide variety of veggies and fruits so that you get multiple nutrients and vitamins.
- Controlling alcohol intake
While keeping away from alcohol would be the best possible solution to preventing colon cancer, if at all you choose to drink alcohol, then limit it to no more than two drinks per day for men and a drink per day for women.
- Stop smoking
Talking to your doctor about how to quit smoking will go a long way in preventing colon cancer.
- Exercising regularly
Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week helps keep colon cancer at bay. If one has been inactive, then they need to begin slowly, building up gradually to around half an hour of exercise.