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4 Things Didn’t Know Affect Your Risk of Developing Colon Cancer

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Many people don’t realize that behavioral factors can affect your likelihood of developing colon cancer.

Many people believe that cancer is mostly a matter of genetics. They acknowledge that certain behaviors are linked to certain outcomes, like smoking and lung cancer, but for the most part don’t realize that behavioral factors affect your likelihood of developing many other cancers too.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, so read on and take the time to learn about lifestyle factors that can impact your colon health.

1. Eating too much fat and too little fiber

Like almost every other function in your body, your colon’s health depends on what you eat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diets low in fiber and high in fat and diets low in fruits and vegetables will both put you at risk for colon cancer.

If your diet is similar to one of these risky diets, start with small changes – add a serving of fruits or veggies to your daily consumption each week until you hit your recommended intake. Try to limit your consumption of less nutritious foods by eating them in smaller portions and with less frequency.

2. Smoking

Surprising, isn’t it? Smoking can cause cancer in areas of the body that are far away from the lungs.

According to RN Marijke Vroomen-Durning, smokers have a higher risk of developing colon cancer AND a greater risk of dying from the disease. If you smoke and want help quitting, there are many resources available from organizations like the American Lung Association.

If other members of your household also smoke, try to quit together. According to a study at the University of Western Ontario, people who tried to quit smoking but who had a partner who smoked had a 52% success rate compared to the 60% success rate of smokers living alone. Would-be quitters with a non-smoking partner or a partner trying to quit achieved a success rate of roughly 68%.

3. Consuming alcohol

According to the CDC, alcohol consumption can contribute to an increased risk for developing colorectal cancer. An occasional drink isn’t a big deal, but binge drinking on the regular can lead to a whole host of health problems including a greater risk for colorectal cancer.

4. Not moving around and being obese

Both being overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to the development of cancerous polyps in your colon according to the Colon Cancer Coalition.

You don’t have to be a religious gym-goer to get active. Try walking around for 15 minutes during your lunch break, joining a recreational sports league or taking up a new hobby like salsa dancing or hiking. It’s more important to stay active over time than to start a major lifestyle change you can’t sustain.

To get a read on your colon health, schedule a colonoscopy at The Endoscopy Center. Our gastroenterologists make it their mission to provide the best quality of care in a safe environment at a reasonable cost. To learn more and schedule an appointment, visit http://www.endo-world.com/.