Bowel Cancer Awareness & Tips
The month of June is Bowel Cancer awareness month, an annual initiative of Bowel Cancer Australia to raise awareness of the disease which claims the lives of 77 Australians every week.
The team at Naturally Dynamic Health would like to contribute to this awareness, and this is why we’ve focused on this for our blog. Below we have listed preventative measurements that everyone can take to reduce their risk of developing bowel cancer and we would encourage our clients, especially those who have a family history of bowel cancer to organise a screening.
8 ways to prevent bowel cancer:
1. Get screened
Screening before symptoms become present is important because bowel cancer can develop without any early warning signs.
Most bowel cancers develop slowly from pre-cancerous growths called polyps. Early detection and removal of these pre-cancerous polyps prevents the development of bowel cancer.
Screening every 1-2 years can reduce your risk of dying from bowel cancer by up to 33%.
2. Engage in Physical Activity
There is strong evidence that exercise cuts the risk of bowel cancer or polyps, and that a sedentary lifestyle increases it. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-vigorous activity, at least five times per week.
3. Eat a Healthy, High Fibre Diet
Eat a variety of fruit and vegetables, and limit saturated fats (found in animal products, processed and takeaway foods). There is strong evidence that eating fibre can help prevent bowel cancer by decreasing the risk of problems such as constipation and inflammation of the bowel wall.
4. Reduce Consumption of Red and Processed Meats
Research shows a moderate effect of red meat in increasing the risk of bowel cancer, especially with processed meats. Charring of meat is best avoided.
5. Don't Smoke
Smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop bowel cancer, and even more likely to die from the disease.
6. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Obesity is linked to bowel cancer, especially in men, and the evidence points to abdominal obesity (belly fat) as a key factor. Maintaining a healthy body weight, for both men and women, also reduces the risk of a number of other diseases including heart disease and diabetes.
7. Moderate Your Alcohol Intake
Heavy drinking may increase the risk of bowel cancer. If you do drink, one standard drink per day for women and two standard drinks per day for men, with two alcohol free days per week for both, is recommended.
8. Know Your Family History
Heredity plays a big role in bowel cancer, up to 20% of people who develop bowel cancer have a relative with the disease. Find out if your relatives have had bowel cancer or polyps, the precursor of the disease. Also, find out how old they were when they were diagnosed.
If there is a strong family history of bowel cancer in your family, genetic counselling can be beneficial.
We take digestive health and bowel health seriously here at Naturally Dynamic Health. If you’d like to receive support or seek further information on ways to improve your bowel health, please contact the team on (02) 6021 0557.