Prevent colorectal cancer: These five simple tips reduce the risk of illness
According to health experts, colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in Germany. However, many diseases could be avoided. Researchers have now shown that everyone can reduce their personal risk of colon cancer by following five simple rules.
Early detection can save lives
Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in Germany. Around 26,000 people die of it every year in Germany. However, many diseases could be prevented if more people would go to regular checkups. Colonoscopy is particularly important if there have been cases of colon cancer in the family. In addition, the risk of cancer can be reduced by a healthy lifestyle. Experts particularly highlight five simple rules here.
Five major lifestyle factors
According to health experts, colorectal cancer is currently the third most common tumor in men and the second most common in women.
"Among other things, this is due to eating and living habits," explains Michael Hoffmeister from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in a message.
"But anyone can lower their risk of colon cancer by keeping a healthy lifestyle," says the researcher.
This is also shown in a study published in the journal "Gastroenterology", for which Hoffmeister and his colleagues from the DKFZ analyzed the data of more than 4,000 colon cancer patients and 3,000 healthy control persons.
Five lifestyle factors that are less likely to cause colon cancer have emerged from the study:
1. Refrain from smoking
2. Drink little or no alcohol
3. healthy eating
4. keep your body weight as normal as possible
5. Adequate physical activity
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
"The more of the healthy lifestyle factors the study participants combined, the lower their risk of developing colon cancer," explains Hoffmeister.
For example, participants who did not smoke, had a healthy diet, and were physically active had a lower risk of colon cancer than participants who did not adhere to the healthy variant for any of the five lifestyle factors.
However, those who maintained a consistently healthy lifestyle, i.e. heeded all five lifestyle factors, had the lowest risk of colon cancer.
According to the information, the five lifestyle factors proved to be approximately equally important in colorectal cancer prevention.
“It didn't matter whether it was no smoking, healthy eating, or physical activity that was taken to heart. The study participants reduced their risk of colon cancer with all variants, ”added Prudence Carr, the first author of this study.
Regardless of the family history
However, the genetic makeup also has consequences for the risk of developing colon cancer. According to the DKFZ, more than 50 gene variants that slightly increase the risk of colon cancer have been discovered in recent years.
"There are people who have a slightly higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than others due to their genetic profile," Carr explains.
"But our study shows that a healthy lifestyle can lower your risk of colon cancer as much as those who have a lower genetic risk," says the scientist.
The relationship between lifestyle and colorectal cancer risk was also independent of the family history of the study participants. It didn't matter whether they had had a colonoscopy in the past or not.
The risk of cardiovascular diseases is also reduced
"The recommendation to pay attention to a healthy lifestyle therefore applies to everyone, regardless of their genetic risk of colon cancer," says Hoffmeister.
“And, of course, a healthier lifestyle would not just lower the risk of colon cancer. At the same time, the risk of cardiovascular diseases and many other diseases is reduced, ”emphasizes the expert.
The DKFZ scientists would now like to investigate in further studies how much, despite a slightly increased genetic risk, several preventive measures can lower the risk of colorectal cancer - for example, through a healthier lifestyle and carrying out preventive examinations. (ad)