Reducing your risk
An estimated 54% of bowel cancers in the UK are linked to lifestyle factors so there’s never a better time than
NOW to make a few simple changes to your lifestyle in order to reduce your risk of developing it later in life.
The most common causes of ‘preventable’ bowel cancer are:
Meat consumption has been identified as the single most damaging factor in relation to the development of bowel cancer – specifically
too much red meat and too many processed meat products such as salami, bacon and sausages. Why not try having at least one
completely meat-free day a week and keeping red meat consumption to a minimum by substituting it for chicken (or something else with
wings!) or fish? Research has indicated that diets rich in fish may be even more effective than completely vegetarian diets in preventing
Eating less meat means there is more room on your plate for vegetables! Dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale, cabbage and broccoli
are particularly beneficial. Whole grains (eg wholemeal bread and brown rice), beans and lentils are a great source of dietary fibre, which
is what keeps your digestive system moving, so opt for those rather than white bread and rice.
Cutting out or reducing the amount of alcohol you consume will also have benefits.
Being significantly overweight has been implicated as a cause of bowel and other cancers.
Try to fit in a minimum of 20 minutes exercise a day – vigorous housework, gardening and brisk dog walking all count!
Your risk of developing bowel cancer increases with age and that’s why it’s so important to take part in the national bowel
cancer screening programme when you are invited. That kicks in on or soon after your 60th birthday and is repeated every
two years until you are 74; at age 55 you will be invited to have a bowel scope examination – do take advantage of it.