Colon Cancer: Risk Factors and How To Reduce Them

Saturday 24 December 2011

Colon, or colorectal, cancer is cancer that starts in the large intestine (colon) or the rectum (end of the colon). Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Over time some of these polyps become colon cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The good news is, early diagnosis often leads to a complete cure.

Risk Factors of Colon Cancer
  • Family history, especially if immediate family (parents, siblings, children) or if the relative had the cancer at a young age.
  • About 90 percent of people diagnosed with colon cancer are older than 50.
  • People with diabetes and insulin resistance may have an increased risk of colon cancer.
  • Personal medical historyChronic inflammatory diseases of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, can increase your risk of colon cancer.
  • Unhealthy dietColon cancer and rectal cancer may be associated with a diet low in fibre and high in fat and calories. 
  • Sedentary lifestyleIf you're inactive, you're more likely to develop colon cancer. Getting regular physical activity may reduce your risk of colon cancer.
The absence of any risk factors does not mean a person will not develop colon cancer. However, the more risk factors one has, the higher the chances of getting it.

    Warning Signs of Colon Cancer
    • changes in bowel habit (constipation or diarrhea)
    • blood in the stools
    • severe abdominal pain
    • unexplained weight loss

    How to Reduce the Risk of Developing Colon Cancer

    • Practice a healthier diet. Eat food high in antioxidants like citrus fruits and dark green and yellow vegetables. Consume foods low in fat and high in fibre. Get enough calcium.
    • Practice a healthier lifestyle. Exercise at least 30 minutes for most days of the week.
    • Quite smoking.
    • Restrict alcohol consumption.
    StarFit4Life, Tummy troubles by Prof Madya Dr Sheikh Anwar Abdullah, 4 Deember 2011

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