Bowel cancer is a form of cancer that affects the large intestines; it can be called colon cancer or colorectal cancer.
The large intestine that houses our waste before it is passed out. It has three or four parts, the ascending, the transverse and the descending. The terminal part of the descending intestine is called the rectum. The food we eat first goes into the small intestine from the stomach where its digestion is completed and absorption takes place. What is not absorbed then passes into the large intestine (bowel) as waste to be passed out.
Bowel cancer is quite common; it is the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women globally. Men are slightly more affected than women but it is not common before the age of 50 years.
In 2010, an estimated 9 percent of the cancer deaths in women were due to bowel cancer.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, scientists estimate that about half of all bowel cancer cases in the UK – over 20,000 new cases a year – could be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices.
You can reduce your personal risk of developing bowel cancer as shown below:
1.Be aware of the disease.
Knowing about the disease is the first step in preventing it; know the symptoms and report to your doctor if you experience any for about three weeks.
2.Stop smoking of cigarette.
Smoking has very serious health hazards, yet it is a habit that has refused to leave mankind. The health effects of cigarette smoke is due to its six major constituents:- nicotine, carbon monoxide, arsenic, lead, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide and tar. Some of these constituents have been found to increase the risk of bowel cancer. Consequently, long-term smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop bowel cancer.
Regular exercise helps to burn off excess calories and thus helps to keep your weight in check. It is also said to aid bowel movement which reduces the risk of bowel cancer. About 30 minutes a day of physical exercise, five days a week is advised but you need a lot of discipline to do this.
4.Watch your weight.
There is some evidence that obesity increases the risk of cancer including bowel cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight as a preventive measure against bowel cancer can therefore never be over emphasized.
5.Reduce Red meat/process meat intake
Red meat (beef, lamb and pork) and process meat (sausage, bacon, ham and salami) are said to be associated with higher rate of bowel cancer, minimize their consumption. As you age, eat more of fish, chicken, nuts, beans and soya-beans for your protein.
6.Maintain a healthy diet.
Eat fibre rich diet which contains vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and grains (cereals); these increase the bulk of our waste and aid bowel movements. Apart fibre, these foods also contain vitamins and minerals which help to build up our ability to fight against diseases and are also said to reduce the rate of bowel cancer. Daily intake of fruits and vegetables is therefore advised. Adequate intake of water is also well advised.
7.Stop alcohol intake
Bowel cancer has been linked to a heavy intake of alcohol. Since it is of little benefit to the body, avoiding or minimizing the intake will do you a lot of good, it will reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer.