Renae Diggles

May 28, 2021

Reducing the Risk of Developing Cancers of the Bowel

Renae Diggles

May 28, 2021

According to the American Cancer Society, many bowel cancers may be preventable with modifiable risk factors. From smoking to lack of exercise, improving your overall health reduces the risk of many health conditions. Read on to find out what you can modify to reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer:

Move Your Body

Exercise is wonderful for your health and overall wellbeing. Bowel Cancer Australia states that exercise can reduce the risk of colon cancer by up to 16%. As you age, life gets busy and physical activity is often overlooked. But it’s never too late to become active. For people who haven’t exercised for a long time and/or have pre-existing health conditions, you should visit your G.P. before you commence any strenuous exercise. A qualified exercise physiologist could also get you started on a safe exercise plan, performed under supervision if needed.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is a risk factor for many cancers, including colorectal cancer. Bowel cancer Australia states that smoking 40 cigarettes per day could increase your risk of bowel cancer by 40%.

If you need help with the cessation of smoking, you can contact QUIT on 13 7848.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Increased waist circumference and a BMI above 25 are modifiable risk factors for developing colon cancer. The Cancer Council of Victoria notes that a waist circumference above 94cm for men, and 80cm for women increases their risk of 13 cancers, including bowel cancer.

If you need help to lose excess weight to achieve a healthy BMI, talk with your G.P. or a dietician to work on a plan to lose weight.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Many of us struggle with eating a healthy diet, but it’s really important in the prevention of many diseases and illnesses. You might find it difficult to avoid fatty foods, processed foods, and alcohol. But did you know that red meat, processed meats, and alcohol increase your risk of developing colon cancer? While giving up some of these pleasures might be impossible, reducing your intake is a step in the right direction.

On a positive note, eating a diet high in calcium can actually reduce your risk of bowel cancer. According to Bowel Cancer Australia, consuming 200mg of dietary calcium per day reduces the risk by 6%.

Fibre is also really important in our diets. The Cancer Council of South Australia states that 20% of colorectal cancers would be preventable with adequate dietary fibre. Men should have 30g per day and women should have 25g per day of dietary fibre. Eat a diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to increase your fibre intake.

Diagnostics & Early Detection

Colorectal cancer is one of the main cancers diagnosed in Australia. But early detection of bowel cancer can save your life. Typically, bowel cancer screening occurs with a faecal occult blood test (FOBT) or a colonoscopy. But there other forms of diagnosis that you can discuss with your general practitioner. Australia has a national bowel cancer screening program offered to people over 50 years. Prevention and early detection are key. According to the Cleveland Clinic, If detected early, colorectal cancer is one of the most curable cancers.

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