Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer refers to a group of cancers that can affect any part of the GI tract including the oesophagus, stomach, liver, biliary system, pancreas, bowels, and anus. On this page we will discuss gastrointestinal cancer prevention as well as suggested lifestyle chances including a cancer prevention diet.
The cause of many types of GI cancer is not known, but certain factors such as smoking, alcohol, older age, fatty foods, and obesity can increase the risk of developing GI cancers. Patients with GI cancer may experience abdominal pain, change in bowel function, and blood in stool, unintended weight loss, loss of appetite, bloating, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
Gastrointestinal Cancer Prevention
Gastrointestinal cancer is often diagnosed using lab tests, imaging tests, biopsies, and endoscopy. Treatment options depend on the stage and extent of the cancer and the patient’s general health. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.
Many factors play a role in cancer development, but several lifestyle changes can help with gastrointestinal cancer prevention, and may include:
Cancer Prevention Diet: Eat a well balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables, low in saturated fat and red meat, and a low sodium diet may help reduce the risk of developing cancer.
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid excessive use of alcohol
- Regular exercise
- Keep normal weight
Medications: Certain medications are known to decrease the risk of developing precancerous conditions, however there is no sufficient evidence to advice these medications in people with average risk of colon cancer.
Surgery: In certain conditions such as familial adenomatous polyposis, or inflammatory bowel disease surgical removal of the entire colon and rectum can prevent the risk of developing cancer.
Screening: Screening for GI cancer is an effective means of detecting the disease in its early and most curable stages. People with an average risk of colon or rectal cancer should consider screening beginning at age 50. People with a family history of colon or rectal cancer should consider screening at an early age. Your doctor may recommend regular screening even if you don’t have any symptoms of colon or rectal cancer if you are considered to be at risk. Several screening options include annual fecal occult blood test, colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, Virtual colonoscopy, and Stool DNA testing.
To find out more about gastrointestinal cancer prevention and lifestyle changes, including cancer prevention diets, get in touch with our specialists using the contact form below.