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How to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer begins when precancerous polyps grow in the rectum or colon. The polyps can remain in the colon for a long time before developing into cancer. Colorectal cancer does not present symptoms in the early stages. Its cause is not known, although some people develop the disease because of family history.

Below are ways that can help prevent colorectal cancer:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight – Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. Men who amass fat around their midsection are at higher risk. A study also showed that younger women with increased body mass index (BMI) posed a greater risk of developing colorectal cancer before turning 50 years.
  • Quitting smoking – Most people link smoking to lung cancer and heart attack. But an analysis conducted by the American Cancer Society discovered that individuals who have been smoking for 40 years without quitting are more likely to develop colorectal cancer and die from it.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle — Regular exercises or high physical activity increases the heart rate while lowering the risk of colorectal cancer. Eating a nutritious diet is also a vital component in preventing colorectal cancer. A fruit and vegetable-based diet accompanied with whole grains and lean proteins will prevent toxins from accumulating in the digestive tract. This, in turn, will minimize inflammation in the colon.
  • Regular Screening – Regular screening for colorectal cancer helps to detect the cancer early when it is still localized and most treatable. Screening tests are carried out depending on the individual’s medical history and personal preferences. They include colonoscopy, fecal occult blood testing, and sigmoidoscopy. The guidelines for screening recommend age 50 for those at average risk and age 40 – 45 for those at high risk.

Other preventive ways for colorectal cancer include understanding family history, taking occasional aspirin or NSAIDs, and getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Talk to your doctor for advice regarding the above preventive measures.

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