In early March, I drew attention to the tendency of international health agencies to guide the reduction of age for screening for colorectal cancer. Now, to close the Navy Blue March, which is dedicated to raising awareness about this type of tumor, I will share with you, reader, some tips for the prevention of the disease. According to the mapping carried out by the National Cancer Institute (INCA), this type of carcinoma it is recurrent in developed countries, where it occurs in 65% of the cases, being more common in men than in women. In Brazil, there are an estimated 20,540 cancer cases for each year of the 2020-2022 period. colon e challenge in men and 20,470 in women. These values correspond to an estimated risk of 19.64 new cases for every 100 thousand men and 19.03 for every 100 thousand women.
Cancer of intestine is a tumor that is easy to prevent and one of the most efficiently curable, as long as a early diagnosis. And this can be done with actions accessible in the daily routine.
Here are seven ways to help protect your gut health
1) Screen for colorectal cancer The tests aim to find colon or rectal cancer before signs and symptoms develop, and to diagnose the tumor earlier, when treatments are most likely to be successful.
As I explained in the previous article, the American Cancer Society recommends tests from the age of 45 for people at medium risk. Some colorectal screening tests can also locate and remove precancerous growths (polyps) in the colon or rectum.
Polyps are not cancer, but over time cancer can start in polyps. Removing them lowers the risk of cancer. Talk to your doctor about when you should start screening and which tests may be right for you.
2) Eat lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains
Diets that include many vegetables, fruits and whole grains have been linked to a reduced risk of rectal or colon cancer. In addition, it is recommended to eat less red meat (beef, pork or lamb) and processed meats (salami, sausages, sausages, hams, canned meats, meat sauces, etc.), which have been associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer .
3) Exercise regularly
If you are not physically active, you may have a greater chance of developing colorectal cancer. Being more active can help reduce your risk. Seek help from a physical education professional to plan your own physical activity routine.
4) Take control of your weight
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of contracting and dying from rectal or colon cancer. A healthier diet and increased physical activity can help you control your weight.
Research shows that habits related to diet, weight and exercise, are strongly linked to the risk of colorectal cancer. Changing some of these lifestyle habits can be difficult. But making changes can also lower the risk of many other cancers, as well as other serious illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes.
5) Don’t smoke
Long-term smokers are more likely to develop and die from rectal or colon cancer than non-smokers.
6) Avoid alcohol
The consumption of alcoholic beverages has been associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Scientific updates show that it is better not to drink alcohol. But if you do, the American Cancer Society recommends no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
7) Pay attention to the family history of cancer
If there are cases of colorectal cancer in close family members, especially if diagnosed at the age of 50, see an oncogeneticist. Up to 25% of colorectal cancer cases have inherited% u0301tic gene components.
The hereditary colorectal symptoms% u0301rio are divided into polyposis – which comprises familial adenomatous polyposis (PAF), juvenile familial polyposis and% u0301 Peutz-Jegher syndrome – and% u0303o polyposis – represented by % u0302 hereditary colorectal cancer% u0301o% u0303o polyposis (HNPCC) or Lynch syndrome.
These diseases are now effectively detected through genetic analysis of saliva or blood. Once the predisposing mutation or mutations are identified, expert advice is offered. Preventive measures vary between annual colonoscopies, use of preventive drugs, such as aspirin, and even preventive removal of the large intestine.
Incidence of colorectal cancer increases among younger people
A study recently released by the American Cancer Society reveals that, of every 10 patients diagnosed with the disease, three are under 55 years old. In view of this, experts have been recommending the anticipation of exams for the detection of tumors and attention to lifestyle habits.
The researchers analyzed 490,305 cases diagnosed in patients over 20 years of age in the United States between 1974 and 2013. In general, the incidence has been declining since the mid-1980s, thanks to new detection techniques.
But, among adults aged 20 to 39, the incidence rate of bowel cancer has been growing between 1% and 2.4% annually since the 1980s. And in the age group of 40 to 54 years, the annual variation has been between 0.5% and 1.3%, since the mid-1990s.
The increase in the incidence rates of cancer in the rectum is even more evident, with an average annual variation of 3.2%, between 1974 and 2013, for adults aged between 20 and 29 years. Between 40 and 54 years, the growth was 2% per year, since the 1990s. In 2013, 29% of the diagnosed cases of the disease were in patients under 55 years old, against a percentage of 15%, registered in 1990.
To conclude, I reinforce that all the preventive care mentioned above are fundamental for reducing the incidence and mortality from colorectal cancer, since obesity, unhealthy eating, sedentary lifestyle and genetic predisposition are some of the hypotheses for increase in the incidence of this type of tumor among young and middle-aged adults. So, in part, the reduction of this trend depends on each one of us.
* André Murad is an oncologist, postdoctoral fellow in genetics, professor at UFMG and researcher. He is executive director at the Personal Oncology Precision and Personalized integrated clinic and Scientific director at the Brazilian Group of Precision Oncology: GBOP. He has been a specialist for 30 years, and is a student of cancer, its causes (carcinogenesis), genetic factors linked to its incidence and measures to prevent and diagnose it early.
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