Preventing colon cancer is a better use of your time and energy than screening for it or treating it. That should intuitively make sense, but of course, it isn’t always easy to do.
Before we dive into this topic, it’s important to understand the process of scientific research; there can be an odd article here and there disagreeing with the general consensus of a scientific topic, but what we look for is the overall general consensus.
When it comes to colon cancer prevention, we know that colon cancer is preventable – almost every scientist will agree on that. We also know that the risk of colon cancer goes up with age and is higher in men than women.
Preventing Colon Cancer – The Basics
Here are the scientifically agreed-upon basics of colon cancer prevention. There is likely a lot more that you could do, from supplements to even medications, but the return on investment is far lower on those than the list below.
1. Maintain a Normal Weight
Before any screening test is considered, it’s helpful to address the extra weight – obesity or being overweight. No screening test will be as effective as normalizing someone’s weight.
But losing weight is a monumental task. Anyone who says it’s easy either doesn’t recall their own journey with weight loss or has never been overweight. But fortunately, any steps you take in this direction will pay off – even if you don’t lose the weight but are doing the right things to lose weight, you’ll decrease your colon cancer risk!
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
A diet with more fiber seems to be protective of colon cancer. Understandably, this sparks a major debate because it’s understood that meat is being demonized or the complete opposite end of the spectrum, where some believe that fiber is actually bad for you.
Here at DN Health, we have no horses in the race. The studies all point to higher fiber intake and lower red meat intake being protective against colon cancer. But there is a nuance to this that may be missed, which is what we do in our one-on-one consultations.
The association between processed meat intake, red meat intake, and low fiber intake with colon cancer is interpreted as red meat being bad and fiber being good. It’s certainly much more complex than that, but what every scientist will agree is that a better diet will decrease your risk of colon cancer.
The right diet for you is the one you can stick to 70% of the time. And it has little to do with what someone else is eating around you.-Dr. Mo
3. Get Enough Exercise
Theories abound as to why exercise decreases colon cancer risk by as much as 30%:
- Free radicals
- Tissue perfusion
- Shearing stress on tumor cells
- Immune action
- Stress hormones
- Decreased insulin resistance
- Higher vitamin D levels
- Decreased intestinal transit time
How much exercise is needed, to us, is the wrong question to ask. Exercise, or more specifically, activity, is what matters. Getting into MET-hours is good for scientific research but not applicable to human beings.
We certainly wouldn’t recommend converting your lovely leisurely walk through the park into brisk walking.