You may recall an earlier blog post discussing colon cancer, the second leading cause of death due to cancer and the third most commonly diagnosed cancer among men and women in the United States according to the CDC.
Until recently, health experts assumed most cases of colon cancer were confined to patients over age 50. However, a report discussed at the annual Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium predicted the incidence of colon cancer will rise dramatically among 20-34-year-olds (90 percent) and to a lesser degree among 35-49-year-olds (28 percent) by 2030.
These predictions about the sharp rise in colon cancer among younger adults are especially alarming considering how avoidable this disease really is. Following these simple steps will help reduce your risk of colon cancer and many other diseases, too.
Beat the obesity bug
The plague of obesity in America—more than a third of adults are obese—contributes to scores of health problems (stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and various forms of cancers including colon cancer).
Fortunately, there are many ways to beat the obesity bug, and it doesn’t take as much time and effort on your part to make that happen.
For example, the results of a preliminary study of colon cancer patients released last summer found that eating fish less than twice a week or exercising less than an hour a week more than doubled their risks of a recurrence.
Imagine how beneficial doing those two small things alone would be for you?
Get enough calcium and vitamin D
There is good evidence that taking enough calcium and vitamin D (two of the eight supplements you need to take for your good health) can help to protect you against colon cancer. Be sure to take enough of a dose of calcium (1,000-1,200 mg) and vitamin D (1,000 IU) every day.
Cut down on red/processed meats
The link between red and processed meats and the elevated risk of colon cancer is strong, possibly due to a link with a common gene variant affecting about a third of all adults, according to a 2013 study.
The good news: Based on that same study, researchers identified another genetic variant that may lower people’s risk of colon cancer when they eat more fiber, fruit and vegetables.
For a safe baseline on eating red meat, the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends a limit of 18 ounces (cooked) per week.
Limit those lifestyle factors
When discussing how to prevent cancers, many experts lean heavily on cutting out smoking altogether and drinking alcoholic beverages to a minimum for good reason.
For colon cancer, research has pointed to changing the way nutrients are metabolized as one solid reason to reduce your consumption of alcohol, according to the American Cancer Society.
As far as the risk of smoking tobacco elevating one’s colon cancer risks, many studies have connected the dots between the two (a 2009 study cited as much as a 60 percent increase of colon cancer due to smoking).
However, the U.S. Surgeon General’s office was reluctant to make that conclusion until the most recent report released in January, spanning a half-century and 31 reports.
“Amazingly, smoking is even worse than we knew. Even after 50 years, we’re still finding new ways that smoking maims and kills people,” CDC Director Thomas Hayden told USA Today.
Take a probiotic
A 2013 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute cited a serious cause of colon cancer: Microbial imbalances in intestinal bacteria. In fact, colon cancer patients were more likely to be depleted of some beneficial bacteria and have more “bad” bacteria linked to gut inflammation than healthy patients.
Another factor in microbial imbalances in your gut: Taking antibiotics over the long term that eliminates the good and bad bacteria in your gut indiscriminately.
The good news: Taking a multi-species probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Advanced Junior (for kids) can give your immune system a much-needed boost by increasing the diversity of beneficial gut bacteria, thus protecting your health from colon cancer.