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Preventing Colorectal Cancer: Demographics at Risk & Vital Tips

Dr Kumardeep Dutta Choudhury, Senior Consultant, Dept of Medical Oncology at Action Cancer Hospital in New Delhi’s Paschim Vihar share his view on Colorectal cancer, which affects the colon or rectum, is one of the most prevalent types of cancer worldwide. Understanding the risk factors associated with colorectal cancer and adopting preventive measures are crucial steps in reducing its incidence and mortality rates. Here, we delve into the demographics more prone to colorectal cancer and provide detailed tips for avoiding this disease.

Demographics More Prone to Colorectal Cancer:

Age: Colorectal cancer predominantly affects older individuals, with the majority of cases occurring after the age of 50. As age advances, the risk of developing colorectal cancer increases significantly.

Family History and Genetics: Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer or certain genetic syndromes, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome, are at a higher risk. Genetic predisposition can significantly elevate the likelihood of developing colorectal cancer, often at a younger age.

Personal Medical History: Patients with a personal history of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, have an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Additionally, individuals with a prior history of colorectal polyps or cancer are more susceptible to developing the disease again.

Lifestyle Factors: Unhealthy lifestyle choices, including a diet high in processed meats and low in fiber, lack of physical activity, obesity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption, have been linked to an elevated risk of colorectal cancer. These factors contribute to chronic inflammation and damage to the cells lining the colon and rectum, promoting the development of cancerous growths.

Tips to Avoid Colorectal Cancer:

Adopt a Healthy Diet: Incorporate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins while limiting the consumption of red and processed meats. High-fiber foods aid in digestion and help maintain bowel regularity, reducing the risk of colorectal cancer.

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity and excess body fat, particularly around the waistline, are associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Engage in regular physical activity and strive to achieve and maintain a healthy weight to reduce your risk.

Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol Intake: Smoking and heavy alcohol consumption are established risk factors for colorectal cancer. Quit smoking altogether and limit alcohol intake to reduce your risk of developing the disease.

Undergo Regular Screenings: Screening tests, such as colonoscopies, fecal occult blood tests (FOBT), and sigmoidoscopies, are essential for early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. Follow the recommended screening guidelines based on your age, family history, and personal risk factors.

Know Your Family History: Be aware of your family’s medical history, particularly regarding colorectal cancer and other hereditary conditions. Discuss your family history with your healthcare provider to determine if you may benefit from earlier or more frequent screenings.

Stay Active: Regular physical activity not only helps maintain a healthy weight but also reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

Manage Chronic Conditions: If you have inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, work closely with your healthcare provider to manage your condition and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer through regular monitoring and appropriate treatment.

Consider Aspirin or NSAIDs: Some studies suggest that long-term use of aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, particularly in individuals with a high risk due to family history or genetic factors. However, consult your healthcare provider before initiating any long-term medication regimen.

To sum up Colorectal cancer is a significant public health concern, but many cases can be prevented through lifestyle modifications, regular screenings, and awareness of personal and family risk factors. By implementing these preventive measures, individuals can take proactive steps towards reducing their risk of developing colorectal cancer and improving overall health and well-being.

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