Reduce Your Risk of Colon Cancer with These Lifestyle Changes

Colorectal cancers are the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, but thanks to increasing awareness and early screening, there are now one million survivors of colorectal cancer. While the first statistic may seem scary, the fact is that deaths due to colon cancer have been declining for the past couple of decades, largely due to the increasing number of people who are taking a proactive stance toward the disease.

At our practice, Dr. Gabriel Akopian and our team believe in partnering with our patients for great health. While we can do our part through preventive screening, there are ways that you can mitigate your risks for developing colorectal cancer. We outline a few of them here.

Watch your weight

Carrying extra pounds places a great deal of stress on your body, and medical researchers are only beginning to understand the effects that obesity and being overweight can have on your health. When it comes to colon cancer, researchers have found that people who are obese are 30% more likely to develop colorectal cancer than those of normal weight.

So if you’re looking for another reason to lose weight, we can add colon cancer to the already long list.

Quit smoking

The list of health conditions that are linked to smoking is seemingly endless and includes increased risks for certain cancers. While lung cancer may seem obvious, the fact is that smoking can greatly compromise your circulatory system and overall cell health, which are critical to your ability to ward off cancer, colon cancer included.

Get moving

Exercise is a great way to improve your health on any number of levels and plays a large role in decreasing your risks for cancers like colon cancer. While exercise can contribute toward the first goal mentioned in this article — losing weight — is also helps boost your cardiovascular health, your metabolic health, and your immune health, all of which need to be in top form to keep cancer from taking hold.

In fact, research suggests that highly active adults reduce their risks for developing colon cancer by 40-50% over inactive adults.

Ditch the red meat

Since colon cancer develops in your digestive tract, it follows that nutrition should play a role in your risk factors, and it does. For example, studies have shown that eating a lot of red meat can increase the likelihood of colon cancer. More specifically, adults between the ages of 50 and 71 who ate five ounces of red meat every day had a 24% higher chance of developing colorectal cancer.

Instead of red meats, you can add healthier foods to your diet, which work to decrease your chances of developing cancer by supporting your health. These foods include:

Not to mention, these dietary changes can also help with weight loss.

Get screened

The reason why colon cancer deaths have been declining is largely due to our ability to screen for colon cancer through a colonoscopy. During a colonoscopy, we can not only look for early signs of colorectal cancer, but we can also remove any polyps that have the potential to lead to cancer.

This screening tool is the most effective weapon we have for reducing your risks for colon cancer, so we urge you to get screened.

To learn more about screening for colorectal cancer, please contact our office in Pasadena, California, to set up a consultation.

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