Read More >>
Although not able to control getting cancer entirely, there are things you can do to reduce the risk. For instance, the first thing you can do to control whether you get colorectal cancer is to control your weight. Many studies have concluded that if you are obese, you have a higher risk of dying from this cancer.
The link between colorectal cancer and being overweight exists for both men and women. However, this link is statistically stronger for men. Gaining and maintaining a healthy weight can lower your risk of developing colon cancer. Sometimes this is difficult to do because when we get home from work we are too tired to think about doing something else besides watching TV.
Closely related to maintaining your weight and reducing the risk of colon cancer is not being physically active. Being physically active contributes to mental health and body health. How much physical exertion is necessary to reduce your odds of getting colon cancer? There is no set level of physical activity to reduce the risk, but regular vigorous to moderate physical activity can help lower the risk. A commitment to regular physical activity is the key, not necessarily the intensity of this physical activity.
Your diet (or lack thereof) is a key factor in colorectal cancer development. For instance, certain methods of cooking meat, i.e. grilling, frying, or boiling, can produce chemicals that could raise your risk of cancer. However, research is not clear about how much of an increase it may cause. The best advice is to follow healthy eating habits, including plenty of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. It is also a good idea to avoid red meat, processed meat, and sugary drinks.
Another controllable habit is smoking. While most people realize that smoking is a prominent cause of lung cancer, many people may not realize that smoking is linked to other cancers. The smoking risk of cancer drops dramatically when you stop and is a lot lower if you never start. In addition, smoking not only causes cancer, but it has an adverse effect on other organs of the body. These organs include the heart, blood vessels, eyes, skin, mouth, bones, and others.
Alcohol use is linked to colorectal cancer. While only heavy or moderate alcohol use has been linked, even light alcohol use poses some risk. The bottom line is that it is just best not to drink alcohol. If you must drink alcohol, men should have only two drinks per day, and women only one drink per day. This moderate use of alcohol can also have many other health benefits.
Along with all the risk factors you can control, there are some risk factors in your life that you cannot change. One of these is being older. They say experience comes with age, but so do a lot of other things, including a colon cancer risk. Adults that are younger have a risk of colon cancer, but this risk is much greater past the age of 50. Recently, however, colon cancer is becoming more prevalent among younger people (below age 50). The reason for this increase is unclear.
Your personal history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps increases your risk of developing colon cancer. If the polyps are many, large, or show dysplasia, you have an increased risk of colorectal cancer. If you have already had colorectal cancer and it was removed, odds are greater that you will develop malignancies in other areas of the rectum and colon. This risk increases further if you previously had colorectal cancer.
Another uncontrollable factor in developing colon cancer is a history of inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis). If you have either of these conditions, the risk of colon cancer goes up. Inflammatory bowel disease is a long period of colon inflammation that, if left untreated, often turns to dysplasia. Dysplasia describes cells in the rectum or colon that appear abnormal. Upon further inspection, these dysplastic cells are not cancer cells but can morph into cancer cells some time down the road.
Another uncontrollable risk factor for colorectal cancer is family history. Most colon cancers are discovered in patients that do not have a family history of these types of cancers. But one-third of people who get colon cancer are related to others who have it. Reasons for these inherited risks are not clear, but inherited genes and shared environmental factors (or a combination of both) share a part in increasing the risk.
One’s ethnic and racial background can contribute. For instance, Jews whose predecessors came from eastern Europe have one of the greatest risks of colorectal cancer in the world. In the United States, African-Americans are more likely to get colorectal cancer and/or die from colorectal cancer. In fact, they have one of the highest mortality rates of all races in the United States. The reasons are not clear.
Last, individuals with type II diabetes are more at risk of colorectal cancer. Type II diabetes and colorectal cancer have some overlapping risk factors. However, even after these factors are considered, type II diabetes patients still face increased risks for colorectal cancer. Both groups share a worse prognosis after a colorectal cancer diagnosis.
There are two factors that have not been established. The first of these is working at night. Although this is an unestablished factor, some studies seem to suggest a link between night shift work and colorectal cancer. Some explanations for this include less daylight, which changes levels of melatonin in night shift workers.
Second, a few studies have shown a higher rate of colorectal cancer in men who survive testicular cancer. This is explained through received treatments, like radiation therapy. It may be collateral damage because some studies have shown men who received radiation therapy for prostate cancer also get some radiation in their rectum. However, we have more precise radiation treatments today than in the 1980s and 1990s.
This article has not been paid for by any advertiser. LatestFact.com does not endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. This content is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice or analysis.