Bowel cancer risk could be lowered with six lifestyle changes – 54% of cases ‘preventable’
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Also known as colorectal cancer, bowel cancer accounts for 10 percent of all cancer deaths in the UK making it the second most deadly form of the disease in the region. It is also the fourth most common type of cancer in the UK, with more than 42,000 new diagnoses each year. But more than half of these cases could be avoided by adjusting certain lifestyle habits, an expert has said.
She said: “Eat a high fibre diet. We know nine out of 10 people do not eat the recommended amount each day, which is 30 grams a day for adults.
“This is known to cause nearly a third of preventable bowel cancer cases.
“Encourage to look out for high fibre food swaps such as swapping white bread and pasta to brown and eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
“Not only does a high fibre diet reduce your risk of bowel cancer, it will reduce your risk of strokes, diabetes, high cholesterol and prevent constipation and improve your gut health, which we know can affect the body and mind in many ways.”
Dr Patel encouraged others to speak to their GP as soon as they notice a change.
“There are lots of potential causes for your symptoms so please don’t assume that you have bowel cancer but it is important to get the right examinations and tests to check,” she added.
“Doctors have seen it all before and try not to feel embarrassed about seeking help.
“It’s also important to know ‘your normal’ so if something does change and is persistent, you seek medical advice early on.”
Common symptoms of bowel cancer include:
- Changes in your poo, such as having softer poo, diarrhoea or constipation that is not usual for you
- Needing to poo more or less often than usual for you
- Blood in your poo, which may look red or black
- Bleeding from your bottom
- Often feeling like you need to poo, even if you’ve just been to the toilet
- Tummy pain
- Losing weight without trying
- Feeling very tired for no reason.