Everyone knows that maintaining a healthy weight is essential for their heart and overall health. But did you know that a healthy weight can also lower your risk of certain cancers? You can increase your chances of beating colorectal cancer by reducing your risk of getting it.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak, an eminent surgical oncologist in India, says that reducing your risk of developing colorectal cancer begins with better gut health. Living a healthy lifestyle is one of the best things you can do to prevent colorectal cancer.
Read on and learn tips to reduce the risk of getting colorectal cancer.
What is colorectal cancer (CRC)?
Colorectal cancer occurs when the healthy cells in your colon or rectal lining change and start to grow out of control, resulting in a tumor. Tumors can be malignant (cancerous) and spread to other areas of your body or benign (non–cancerous), which means they can grow but not spread. It usually takes years for these changes to manifest.
CRC is the 3rd highest cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women globally and affects more than 5.20 million people worldwide (5-year prevalence), which is only lower than breast cancer, affecting over 7.70 million people.
Although there are several healthy lifestyle choices you can make, certain behaviors are known to be more effective than others in reducing your risk of colorectal cancer.
Maintain a healthy weight
Obese people are about 30% more likely than normal-weight people to get colorectal cancer. A higher BMI is linked to an increased risk of colon and rectal cancer in both genders, but the chances are greater in men.
Inactivity can increase your risk of colorectal cancer by as much as 28 %. That is because inactivity is associated with a higher risk of obesity, increasing your risk of colorectal cancer. If you want to lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer, it is crucial that you make exercise a part of your routine.
Get Regular Checkups
Regular checkups are essential for good health. Colonoscopies may help detect colon cancer early, enabling your doctor to treat it more effectively. Early detection is important because less than 1 in 6 people with stage 3 colon cancer survive longer than 5 years after diagnosis.
If you notice any changes in your bowel movements, blood in your stools, abdominal cramps or pain, or fatigue, please get in touch with Dr. Sandeep Nayak at the earliest for further testing and treatment options.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak is regarded as one of the best cancer specialists in Bangalore. He has over 15 years of expertise in robotic surgery, advanced laparoscopic cancer surgery, and endoscopic surgery, to name just a few.
Limit Red Meat
Red meat is one of the highest-risk foods for colorectal cancer. A study in the Journal of Nutrition shows that men who ate red meat more than twice a week had a 62 % higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than those who ate red meat less than once a week.
This supports other studies showing that eating red meat may increase your risk for colorectal cancer by 50 %.
If you are worried about your health and want to lower your risk for colorectal cancer, limit your intake of red meat.
Limit Processed Foods
Processed foods are not always healthy. Processed foods contain many unhealthy ingredients that cause inflammation, which can lead to colorectal cancer. The most common processed foods are sugar-sweetened sodas and desserts, salty snacks, fast food, and refined grains.
You could also try cutting out processed meats from your diet and replacing them with plant-based proteins like tofu, beans, or nuts.
Processed meats are the ones that are smoked, cured, salted, or chemically preserved, such as bacon, hot dogs, bologna, ham, and packed lunchmeat.
Keep Up With Your Fruits and Veggies
There is no better way to lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer than by increasing your fruit and vegetable intake. Studies show that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have lower rates of colon cancer.
Eating fruits and vegetables rich in fiber can lower your risk for colorectal cancer by up to 40%. Fiber helps ensure that waste stays in your gut and keeps things moving along nicely while also helping reduce inflammation in the intestines. Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can help improve digestion and prevent constipation or diarrhea.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak, among the leading cancer specialists in Bangalore, adds that colorful fruits and veggies contain phytochemicals, natural substances that may aid in blocking the growth of cancer cells.
Make Time for Relaxation
The American Cancer Society recommends making time for relaxation and not just exercising. Taking the time to relax can help you lower stress and lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Meditation is a great way to relax. You can also try yoga or deep breathing for a few minutes throughout the day.
Consider quitting if you smoke more than a pack a day or have other health risks like heart disease, diabetes, or high cholesterol.
Just 1 cigarette a day increases your risk of colorectal cancer by 5 %.
If you quit smoking, it can reduce your risk of getting colorectal cancer by at least 50 %.
Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
Regular, heavy alcohol consumption can harm your liver, causing inflammation and scarring, and may contribute to the increased risk of liver cancer.
A drink once in a while does not appear to increase your risk of colon cancer. However, if you are a moderate to heavy drinker (2 - 3 glasses per day), you can increase the odds of getting it by 20%, and excessive drinking can increase your risk by 40%.
If you drink more than 3 drinks per day regularly, speak with Dr. Sandeep Nayak, an acclaimed surgical oncologist in India, about getting screened for colorectal cancer.
Optimize your calcium and vitamin D Levels
The majority of research concur that dairy products, which are rich in calcium, reduce the risk of adenomas (colon growths) and colorectal cancer. Calcium supplements could also be beneficial. Consult your doctor to see what options are available to you.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for calcium absorption and bone health. Research suggests that it can also lower your risk of colorectal cancer. For optimal Vitamin D levels, make sure you are getting exposure to natural sunlight on your skin and take a supplement when necessary.
Your health comes first. If you have colorectal cancer, the earlier it is detected, the better your chances of survival are. Early detection also increases your chances of a cure and lowers the risk of spreading cancer to other parts of your body.
If you are struggling with weight or do not feel like you are giving your body enough love, now is the time to make a change! Do not let colorectal cancer become one of your life's regrets. The earlier that colorectal cancer is diagnosed, the easier it will be to beat.
Stop postponing that critical visit to a health professional. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Sandeep Nayak, a top-notch cancer specialist in Bangalore, to assess your condition and start the best suitable treatment.