Papafragkakis
Charilaos Papafragkakis, MD
Gastroenterologist - Hepatologist

Life Style and Colon Cancer Prevention

10 Ιουλ 2019 / Proper diet and exercise

Diet rich in whole grains and exercise reduce the risk for colorectal cancer. On the contrary, according to a new report by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund, risk factors for colorectal cancer include red and processed meats, obesity and heavy alcohol consumption. The panel assessed 99 studies including data on 29 million people, more than 247,000 of whom had colorectal cancer.

The panel determined that convincing causes of colorectal cancer included eating processed meat, drinking two or more alcoholic drinks per day (more than 30 g) and being overweight or obese.

It was also shown that physical activity reduces the risk for colon cancer, but not rectal cancer. Studies showed a 20% decreased risk comparing the highest and lowest physical activity levels.

Consumption of whole grains, dietary fiber and dairy products and probably reduces colorectal cancer risk and high red meat intake probably increases colorectal cancer risk. A metanalysis showed that every three servings or 90 g of whole grains consumed per day reduced colorectal cancer risk by 17%.

Lifestyle modifications are important in keeping colon cancer risk as low as possible. Maintaining a normal bodyweight, exercising, limiting red and processed meat and eating more whole grains and fiber may lower the risk. Moreover, limiting alcohol consumption to two drinks per day and avoidance or cessation of smoking may also help to lower the risk. Adding fish and foods high in vitamin C in our diet may reduce colorectal cancer risk.

These emerging data highlight the impact of having a healthy diet, exercising and maintaining normal weight on lowering our risk for colon cancer. If we add whole grains to our diet and start eating more fruits and vegetables, we will have a diet full of cancer protective elements. No guarantees exist when we are talking about cancer prevention and everything is under continuous research as new data emerge every day. However, it is clear that there are choices we can make to lower our risk.

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