A risk factor might increase the chances of getting the disease but doesn’t confirm its occurrence. There are few risk factors involved with colon cancer which are genetically inherited and not much can be done about them. Other factors like diet, lifestyle and environmental factors however can be controlled and should be minimized. In rare instance even in the absence of any of the risk factors also, few people contract a particular disease.
There are several risk factors as per the ongoing research at the gastroenterology department of PSRI Hospital that have been identified, which increase the chances of developing colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
Factors that can be changed
Diet and lifestyle: Much of the diseases that happen today are based on an inactive lifestyle and poor dietary habits.
No physical activity: A sedentary lifestyle with little or no physical movement throughout the day and no form of exercise contributes significantly towards colon cancer.
Being overweight or obese: Not maintaining a proportionate body weight can lead to increased risk of contracting colon cancer. Men are at higher risk of contracting colon cancer than women.
Unhealthy diet and cooking practices: A diet rich in red meats like beef, pork, lamb, or liver contributes significantly towards increased risk of colon cancer. Prolonged cooking of meats at very high temperatures might lead to formation of free radicals and chemicals that might raise cancer risk. There is insufficient data to elucidate the role of fats in causing colon cancer, however use of highly saturated fats should be avoided in general. Use of polyunsaturated fatty acids is advised.
On the contrary a generous intake of fruits, vegetables and fibrous foods would help in detoxifying the colon and help in easy passage of stools and avoid challenges like constipation that can further deteriorate colon cancer.
Smoking: It is a perennial challenge to almost all forms of cancer and colorectal cancer is no exception. Smoke is rich in chemicals that are carcinogenic in nature. It may alter few genes to cause healthy ells to behave and multiply abnormally. Chronic alcoholism also adds significantly towards risk of developing colon cancer.
Things that can’t be changed
A prior medical history of adenomatous polyps, especially large ones, make the concerned person predisposed to contracting colorectal cancer. Chances of remission of colorectal cancer are also high if one has been treated for the same before. Family history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps, also are high risk factors for the same.
Inflammatory bowel disease(IBD)
If one has been ever treated for ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, the chances of getting colorectal cancer are high. One must however note that inflammatory bowel disease is different from irritable bowel syndrome. It is not a risk factor for colorectal cancer.
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