- Following five lifestyle recommendations could potentially prevent up to 23 percent of colorectal cancer cases – these recommendations include regular physical activity, a balanced diet, moderate alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and maintaining an appropriate weight.
- Even embracing just one additional lifestyle technique could prevent 13% of colorectal cancer cases.
- For every additional lifestyle guideline adhered to, there’s a further 13 percent decrease in colorectal cancer cases – meaning that fully adhering to all five could lead to a 23 percent reduction.
- Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the third leading cause of cancer deaths.
- By leveraging existing knowledge about cancer prevention and utilizing validated screening tests, the majority of these cases, and subsequent deaths, can be prevented.
Adhering to just five simple healthful living suggestions could potentially deflect up to 23 percent of colorectal cancer cases, according to a study conducted by Danish research specialists.
The advised lifestyle changes – which would generally enhance overall wellness – consist of regular physical activity, a balanced diet, moderate alcohol consumption, abolition of smoking, and sustaining an appropriate weight, the study suggests.
Dr. Anne Tjonneland, the principal investigator from the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology of the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen epitomizes, “a slight alteration in your lifestyle habits could have a meaningful impact on your colorectal cancer susceptibility.”
The explicit recommendations highlighted by the study are:
- A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise daily.
- Alcohol consumption restricted to seven drinks per week for women and 14 for men.
- Avoidance of smoking.
- A wholesome diet, characterized by high fiber content, with fruits and vegetables making up more than six servings (3 cups) per day. The study recommends limiting red meat and processed meat to slightly over a pound per week, with fat constituting less than 30 percent of total caloric intake.
- A waistline measuring 34.6 inches or less for women and 40.1 inches or less for men.
Dr. Tjonneland and her team analyzed data on 55,487 individuals aged between 50 and 64 without a previuos diagnosis of cancer.
These individuals participated in a lifestyle questionnaire addressing social factors, health status, reproductive factors, and lifestyle routines. They also completed a food frequency questionnaire that recorded what they consumed over a 12 month span.
During the 10 years of the study, 678 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
The vital finding was that even the adoption of one additional lifestyle technique could have prevented 13% of these instances, according to the researchers.
For each additional lifestyle guideline adhered to, there was a consecutive 13 percent decrease in colorectal cancer cases, as explained by Tjonneland. If everyone in the study had followed all the five lifestyle recommendations, there would have been a 23 percent reduction in colorectal cancer cases.
“Hopefully, this is a comprehensible message leading to an impact in preventing colorectal cancer,” she said.
Marji McCullough, a strategic director of nutritional epidemiology at the American Cancer Society, echoes the significance of following cancer prevention guidelines strictly related to lifestyle choices.
Colorectal cancer ranks third in the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States and is the third leading cause of cancer death in both genders, McCullough highlights.
By applying existing knowledge about cancer prevention and increasing the use of validated screening tests, the majority of these cases and deaths could be avoided. Colorectal cancer is substantially preventable, she says.
Dr. Floriano Marchetti, an assistant professor of clinical surgery in the division of colon and rectal surgery at the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, adds “this study confirms on a larger scale what many other small studies have only hinted at.”
“These lifestyle recommendations are not overly stringent,” he notes. “This is not like people are being asked to adopt a strictly vegetarian diet or become triathletes.” Additionally, the benefit is linear – A slight modification can offer a positive return with minimal investment. The more you modify, the greater the return, as he points out.
In a complementary study in the same publication, Australian researchers discovered that individuals without a high school diploma equipped with a decision aid featuring inclusive information about colon cancer screening through an interactive booklet and DVD became more informed than those who received only regular screening details. Interestingly, this group was less likely to undertake screening.
While the decision aid didn’t necessarily encourage more people to undergo screening, it provided the data necessary for making an informed choice.
For supplementary information on colorectal cancer, please visit the American Cancer Society.