6 Ways to Prevent Colon Cancer

Summary: Colon or colorectal cancer is one of the most dreadful diseases the world over. It is caused when the normal cells of colon start growing and multiplying uncontrollably. Like any other disease, colon cancer also shows early signs and symptoms and there are people who are at risk of getting it. But, the good thing is that if it gets detected, before it is too late, it is very much curable.

Before knowing about colon cancer and the ways to prevent it, it is important to know about its structure and function.
Structure of Colon: Our colon is like a tube. We can rather say it as a muscular tube. Its length is about 4 feet. It starts from the end of small bowel and ends in anus.
Functions of Colon: There are three main functions of colon:
• Digesting and absorbing nutrients from food
• Storing and evacuating fecal materials
• Absorbing fluid (electrolyte) from the digested food
Storage and evacuation of stool is performed by the left side of the colon whereas the right side of the colon does absorption of water and electrolysis.
How Colon Cancer is Caused?
Colon cancer is caused when there is transformation of the normal cells of colon. These cells grow and multiply uncontrollably. These cells start getting spread and take the nutrients, oxygen and space of the healthy cells. In essence, they overwhelm the healthy cells. If it is not treated on time, it may spread to the adjacent lymph nodes and organs through the colon wall. If the cells are not treated even at this stage, they spread to even the distant organs, such as liver, lungs, bones and brain.
Who are at Risk?
• People over 50 years of age
• Polyps-Growth inside colon and rectum that may become cancerous
• Those who consume high fat diet
• A family history of Colon or Colorectal Cancer
• Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis
Symptoms of the disease: Blood in the stool, abdominal pain and tenderness in the lower abdomen, constipation, diarrhea, change in the normal bowel habits, narrow stools, sudden and unexplained body loss
There is good news about colon cancer. Two-third of the cases can be avoided by the things that a person can do.
Below given are the tips that will guide you to lower your risk of colon cancer:
1. Get Screened: The best way to stay away from colon cancer is to get screened for it quite often. If your cancer gets detected early, it will be treated before it becomes out of control. The doctors will find the abnormal growths, known as polyps and destroy these before they turn into cancers.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Overweight is one of the most important reasons for getting cancer. It can be very well understood from the fact that not less than 10 different types of cancers, including the colon cancer, are linked to obesity.
If you have put on weight due to some reason or the other, make losing these extra pounds your first priority. If you manage to get rid of weight, you will not only get a health boost, the danger of getting colon cancer will also be reduced substantially.
3. Avoid Sedentary Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has no any substitute. Besides giving a mental boost, active lifestyle does also minimize the risk of several serious diseases, including colon cancer. Though any amount of activity is better than doing no activity, but if you spare your 30 minutes or more of physical activity everyday, it will be very much advantageous for your health. You can choose jogging, cycling, gardening or dancing as your physical activity.
4. Say No to Smoking: It is horrible but true that smoking is one of the main reasons of getting the diseases like stroke, emphysema and heart diseases. Smoking does also trigger not less than 14 different types of cancers, including colon cancer. Hence, stop smoking if you are addicted to it. But, your real health benefits will start after your last cigarette.
5. Limit the Intake of Red Meat: Recent studies have established the fact that red meat, like pork, hamburger, steak increases the risk of colon cancer. Processed meats, like bacon, sausage and bologna are even more dangerous than red meats. These meats raise the risk even more. Even if you cannot stay away from these meats completely, make sure that you do not consume these meats more than three servings in a week.
6. Take a Multivitamin with Folate: A daily dose of multivitamin will safeguard you against the danger of colon cancer. Apart from calcium and vitamin D, the multivitamins do also contain folate which lowers the risk of colon cancer to a great extent. Though mega-dose vitamins are not the ideal option, standard multivitamin will solve your nutritional need.
It is important here to know that these tips include, but not limited to the tips that are needed to prevent the danger of colon cancer.
                                               -----Ashish Jha