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Preventing Colorectal Cancer

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Professor Lovat
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We always hear doctors talking about our diet and how we should eat healthily in order to help our bodies function and avoid illnesses. Cancer can affect anybody and, sometimes, the illness can affect even the healthiest of individuals. Family history and age can increase your risk of colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer, no matter how healthy your lifestyle is.

However, when it comes to colorectal cancer, there are ways in which you can limit your risk of developing the condition.

1. Change your diet.

Research shows that eating less meat can help in the prevention of colorectal cancer. This includes red meats, cured meats and processed meats. Working with the Department of Health, the NHS have advised people who eat more than 90 grams of cooked red meat a day to limit this to 70 grams.

You should add fish and fibre to your diet for a healthier alternative to meat. Fibre includes cereals, beans, pulses, fruit and vegetables.

2. Lead a healthy lifestyle – exercise!

Evidence shows that maintaining a healthy weight and taking part in exercise can lower the risk of bowel cancer development. The NHS recommends that adults exercise for 2 and a half hours each week, however, any exercise you can fit into your routine will be beneficial.

By exercising, you can also help prevent weight gain. Obesity is a major problem in the United Kingdom and many cancers have been linked to being overweight.

3. Stop smoking and reduce your alcohol intake.

We all know smoking has been linked to a vast number of cancers, including colorectal cancer. There are many support services you can turn to if you need help to stop smoking, including your family, friends, doctor and the NHS Smokefree website.

You should also try to cut down on alcohol as overconsumption of alcohol has been linked to colorectal cancer. The recommended units are 3-4 per day for men and 2-3 per day for women.

4. Be aware of bowel cancer symptoms.

Detecting bowel cancer at the earliest stages gives patients a better chance of treatment working and survival. Changes in your bowel movements combined with blood in your faeces or abdominal pain can be a sign. Any discomfort or bloating that affects how you eat or causes you lose weight should also be checked out by a doctor.

The symptoms can often be down to less serious conditions and the best way to eliminate bowel cancer from the list is to follow the next tip.

5. Inform your doctor.

Most people’s bowel movements are regular and they know roughly what to expect and when! However, if you see a significant change in your bowel movements or you are worried about any of the symptoms above, you should inform your doctor immediately.

He or she may refer you to a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy. This is a procedure which examines the whole of your large bowel up until it meets your small bowel. This can give you an instant diagnosis of any issues or conditions affecting your bowel. If you are looking for a colonoscopy consultant in London, please contact us on 020 7183 7965.

Remember that, in the majority of cases, these symptoms are because of less serious conditions. However, colon screening can be a way to put your mind at rest and rule out colorectal cancer. By looking after your body and adhering to our tips, research suggests you can significantly decrease your risk of bowel cancer. 

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