Risk of Bowel Cancer

Throughout the UK, men are growing, colouring, or removing their beard completely, to support Bowel Cancer UK’s December campaign – ‘Decembeard’. Raising awareness of bowel cancer and gaining vital funds for research, the new campaign runs all month long, and is free to sign up.

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK, affecting one in 15 men, and one in 18 women in their lifetime. While anyone can develop the disease, there are factors that can increase the risk.

Here, we look at some of the best ways to reduce the risks associated with bowel cancer…

Watch your diet

A poor diet is a major risk factor of bowel cancer. Start by reducing your consumption of processed and red meats. These include bacon, ham, lamb, burgers, and minced beef. The reason processed meats can contribute to diseases such as bowel cancer, is their nitrate content. The nitrates can transform into cancer-causing chemicals in the body.

You will also want to start eating a diet high in fibre. This will help to keep the digestive system healthy, reducing the risk of developing bowel cancer. Ideally, you should consume a minimum of 30g of fibre a day. Foods packed with fibre include oats, apples, nuts, seeds, and potatoes.

Increasing your water intake is also important. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking six to eight glasses of water a day.

Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity and being overweight can dramatically increase your risk of bowel cancer. It is estimated that 11 out of 100 cases of bowel cancer are linked to being overweight. Make sure you are getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day to help maintain a healthier weight.

Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet will go a long way to helping you reach a healthy weight. However, you can also speak to your GP if you are struggling. They may be able to recommend simple lifestyle changes that will help you achieve your goal weight.

Attend regular screenings

The majority of bowel cancer cases affect those over the age of 50. However, it can strike at any age, particularly if you have a family history of the disease. If you are at an increased risk, attending a colonoscopy can help to detect bowel cancer early.

Attending regular screening helps you to diagnose the disease in its early stages, so you can start treatment straight away. Early treatment is essential in improving survival rates. A colonoscopy is fast, painless, and could potentially save your life. If you suspect you have cancer symptoms, book an appointment with Professor Jamie Murphy today to find out about the best treatment options that suit you.