Prevent Colon Cancer: 7 Healthy Habits To Lower The Risk

prevent colon cancer

In this article, we’ll discuss some effective habits you can adopt in your life that might help you reduce the risk of, or totally prevent colon cancer.

Overview

A form of cancer that is born and develops in the large intestines is known as colon cancer. The colon is the final part of the alimentary canal. Adults over the age of 50 are the most prone to colorectal (colon) cancer. However, it can affect anyone. 

Colon cancer usually begins in the form of precancerous polyps in the colon. If not addressed timely and appropriately, the polyps can turn into malignant tumors. Although, one must take note that not all colorectal polyps are cancerous. 

Tips To Prevent Colon Cancer

There are many screening techniques for colon cancer. Some of them include colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy, and sigmoidoscopy

Colon cancer is treatable, but the treatment depends on various factors. These may include the patient’s age, stage of cancer, and overall health condition. Although surgery is the most prevalent form of treatment for colon cancer.

The following are some preventive measures that will help you reduce your risk of colon cancer. Try to include these in your daily life as much as possible.

1. Quit Smoking

Your friends have said this to you. Your family has said this to you. You have heard this phrase an innumerable number of times. Still, you haven’t yet quit smoking. We give you another reason today. Colorectal cancer. We all know the number of carcinogens a cigarette contains. In the long run, these carcinogens can be responsible for varied types of cancers.  

Not just cancer, smoking increases the risk of other health conditions such as stroke and blood pressure drops that cannot be stabilized. If you are a regular smoker, try quitting. If you find it difficult, ask for help. The best method would be speaking to your doctor or therapist about it. Professional help increases the chances of quitting by double.

2. Limit Your Alcohol Intake

You do not need to drink at a party to socialize. Additionally, you don’t have to waste your weekend’s binge drinking. High alcohol intake is linked to poor liver and heart health, but those are not its only ill effects.

Studies show that more alcohol than the recommended amount can increase the risk of colon cancer. Several institutes peg this number at two drinks a day for men, and one for women. Try to avoid anything over that limit. If you have a drinking problem, you should consider talking to your friends and family about it. Consulting with your doctor about the same can also help you.

3. Maintain Healthy Body Weight

You have put on extra pounds. You have been pointed out time and again to lose weight. Yet, you have not managed to make any progress. Being overweight increases the risks of a slew of diseases that last a lifetime. This can include illnesses like hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and even cardiac arrests. 

Recent research also establishes a link between obesity and colorectal cancer. As a result, try putting in efforts to reduce weight.  Ideally, your first step should be controlling weight gain. After accomplishing this task, you can slowly work on reducing your weight. This will not only reduce your cancer risk but also improve your overall well-being.

4. Consume Antioxidants

An easy-to-follow tip to prevent colon cancer from affecting your body – Antioxidants.

The human body produces chemicals called free radicals. They have a profound impact on the functioning of the body. Free radicals are known to aggravate heart diseases. At the same time, free radicals are also linked to the formation of cancer cells. Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals in the body. Additionally, they also improve the overall functioning of vital organs. Therefore, it is a good idea to include antioxidants in your diet.

Here are some antioxidants and the foods rich in them:

  • Anthocyanins – Grapes, all kinds of berries, and eggplants
  • Allium sulfur compounds – Garlic, leeks, onion, etc.
  • Beta-carotene – Apricots, carrots, mangoes, parsley, and spinach
  • Catechins – Red wine and different varieties of tea
  • Copper – Dairy, seafood, nuts, lean meats

5. Eat Your Fruits And Veggies

Many of us have hated fruits and vegetables as children. However, they possess essential micro-nutrients to keep colon and other types of cancers at bay. Certain fruits and vegetables are specifically linked to restricting the build-up of cancer cells. Cruciferous vegetables are the most well known in this regard. These include vegetables like kale, watercress, cabbage, broccoli, and other vegetables from the same category.  

Similarly, eat fruits of different colors. They will enrich your diet with the necessary vitamins and sugars. As all fruits reduce the risk of cancer formation to some extent, you can eat any fruit you like. Just make sure to have one serving of any fruit or vegetable with every meal. This is the best way to ensure regular fruit and vegetable intake.

6. Get Your Vitamin D

Make sure to get enough vitamin D. Low levels of this vitamin are a major risk factor for colon cancer. Therefore, you should make sure that you get some exposure to sunlight. Morning sunlight is believed to be the most effective for this purpose. The reason being, it is not as harsh as sunlight during the rest of the day. 

In the months of winter, it becomes even more necessary to get vitamin D, due to lack of sunlight. This is where supplements come in handy. But why supplements? Because vitamin D is only found in some kinds of meat. You can also consume fortified dairy products if they suit your digestion. 

7. Limit Red Meat Consumption

You should consider giving a break to that barbecued steak you love. Research shows that red meat consumption can increase the risk of colon cancer by almost 24%. There are many factors behind this. HCA is one such factor. HCA is produced when red meat is cooked at very high temperatures, e.g. grilling. 

Red meat is rich in heme iron, which is a form of dietary iron. It is very well absorbed in the body. However, heme iron is known to increase the risk of cancer in humans. Quitting red meat entirely may not be possible for hardcore non-vegetarians. A better choice is to reduce the portion sizes. You can also reduce the frequency of consumption of red meat and limit them to twice or a maximum of thrice a week.

Prevent Colon Cancer: Wrapping Up

Now that you are aware of the preventive measures, gradually incorporate them into your life. Other than the above measures, you should also go for routine medical checkups. 

As a healthy individual, consider going for a colonoscopy every once 5-10 years. Colonoscopy can diagnose colorectal cancer when it is the most treatable. Additionally, any suspicious pre-cancerous tumors can also be removed during a colonoscopy. Hence, opt for regular screenings, especially if you are above the age of 50.