How to Reduce Your Risk of Bowel Cancer
Bowel cancer can affect any part of the large bowel, colon or rectum. Bowel cancer affects both men and women and individuals of any age, however it is more common in people over the age of 50. Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers, affecting 1 in 13 in Australia and is also the second deadliest cancer. However, bowel cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and 90% of bowel cancers can be treated effectively if detected early.
How do I reduce my risk?
A healthy diet and lifestyle is key to reducing your risk of bowel cancer. Furthermore, screening for the cancer is important too.
Important factors we can control that reduce the risk of bowel cancer are:
- Quitting smoking
- Abstaining from or limiting alcohol consumption
- Eating foods high in dietary fibre
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Engaging in regular physical activity
If bowel cancer is diagnosed, those who are more physically active prior to the diagnosis are less likely to die from the condition.
What exercise should I be doing to prevent bowel cancer?
Strength training and aerobic training are recommended. The following guidelines to maintain a healthy lifestyle should be followed:
- Be active on all/most days of the week
- 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise daily
- 2 days of strength training per week
If you are diagnosed with bowel cancer, exercise has a place in conjunction with your medical treatment. A specific exercise program can be developed by an Exercise Physiologist to assist you through the treatment and then begin to build strength and fitness post treatment to assist you in returning to your normal activities and help to prevent further cancer or side effects.
Care will be taken with side effects from the cancer, surgery or other treatment and it is important to discuss these with your Exercise Physiologist to ensure you get the most out of the exercise.
If you would like to know any further information please speak to the Exercise Physiologists at your centre.