Colon Cancer The large intestine is made up of the colon (the upper five to six feet) and the rectum (the last six to eight inches). This is where the last stage of digestion occurs and where solid waste is held until it is released. Colon cancer is second only to lung cancer among cancers that kill both men and women.
Mostly credited to an increase in screening for and removal of polyps, the incidence has been declining during the past decade.
Most colon cancers occur in people over fifty. It strikes men and women nearly equally. Colorectal cancer develops over a ten-to-fifteen-year period and produces no symptoms until it is advanced. If the disease is detected early enough and the tumour has not metastasized, the survival rate is quite high.
Causes and Risk Factors Of Colon Cancer
A genetic defect is linked with some forms of familial colon cancer. Other causes are not known. Risk factors associated with colorectal cancer include:
Symptoms of colon cancer can include the following:
Screening for colon cancer is the best way to detect polyps before they turn cancerous. During regular checkups (and annually after age forty), men and women should have a rectal exam. Beginning at age fifty, one of the following tests should be performed along with a rectal exam:
In addition, a test kit for detecting blood in the stool can be purchased at most pharmacies.
Dietary and Nutritional Factors
It was once believed that a high-fiber diet protects the colon by reducing the time any harmful carcinogens that are present in the stool are in contact with the intestinal wall.
There have since been conflicting reports on this, but most health professionals still recommend a high-fiber, low fat diet. A high-fat diet is strongly linked to colon cancer.
A Mediterranean diet is a well balanced diet which offers optimum dietary protection. The traditional Mediterranean diet consists of fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, pulses, fish, seafood, virgin olive oil, and red meat is eaten once a week.
Cut out all refined sugar and refined grain products such as white bread, cakes, cookies, limited consumption of red meat, saturated fat and processed foods high in sugar and refined grained products such as cakes and cookies.
Garlic, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, citrus fruits, melons, and dark green, red, and yellow vegetables are recommended for their antioxidant and sulfur compounds. Tomatoes may lower risk. Quercetin found in onions has been shown to have anticancer properties with respect to colon cancer. Probiotics found in yoghurt may also inhibit colon cancer. Goat's and or sheep's yoghurt is best for human consumption as it is most easily digested.
Consumption of chlorinated water has been linked to a greater incidence of colon cancer. It would be best to drink filtered water.
If you are aware of any health problem which may compromise your general health, it is important to seek treatment. A Health and Wellness Counselor may help you, to bring you back in balance and to good health through, detoxing, healthy eating and living, create a proper diet suited for your condition, advise natural remedies, herbs, wholefood supplements and organic cosmetics.
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !