Its the fourth most common cancer in the UK, after breast , lung and prostate cancer . Around 41,600 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year, with a slightly higher rate in men . Most bowel cancers affect people aged 65 or older, but as charity Beating Bowel Cancer reveals , the cancer is a slow grower – it can develop over a period of up to 10 years, and then begins to spread and affect other areas of your body. Most bowel cancers are in the large bowel,” says Dr Zollinger-Read, “and about 1 in 3 in the back passage. Its most common in older people – more than eight out of 10 bowel cancers are diagnosed in people aged 60 or over. In many cases, its hard to know the exact cause but there are some things that put you more at risk. If you have a strong family history of bowel cancer, youre more at risk of developing the disease. About one in 20 bowel cancers are caused by inherited conditions If someone in your family, and especially if a few people on the same side, have been diagnosed with bowel cancer, speak to your GP. They may refer you to a specialist genetics service.” Story continues below the slideshow: Loading Slideshow Eat Fiber From Whole Grains Researchers from Britain and the Netherlands found that the more total dietary fiber and cereal fiber people consumed, the lower their colorectal cancer risk. For example, people who consumed an extra 90 grams of whole grains a day also had a 20 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer, according to the British Medical Journal review. However, that same study didn’t show a link between eating fiber from fruits and vegetables and a lowered colorectal cancer risk, meaning there may be something else in whole grains at work, too. Take Aspirin Researchers from the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands found that people who take aspirin once a day have a 30 percent decreased risk of dying from colorectal cancer, if taken for at least a nine-month period. And, the benefit extended to after a person had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The researchers found that people who had already been diagnosed and who took aspirin had a 23 percent decreased risk of dying from the disease, compared with people who didn’t take it at all. Eat Chocolate (Maybe) The Daily Mail reported on a study in mice, published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, showing that rats exposed to a carcinogen developed fewer colon cancer lesions than rats if they consumed high-cocoa diets. “Being exposed to different poisons in the diet like toxins, mutagens and procarcinogens, the intestinal mucus is very susceptible to pathologies,” study researcher Maria Angeles Martin Arribas, a researcher at the Institute of Food Science and Technology and Nutrition, said in a statement.
The large intestine carries the remnants of digested food from the small intestine and eliminates them as waste through the anus. Colorectal tumors begin as polyps (small growths) on the inside of the large intestine. Polyps that aren’t removed eventually can become cancerous, penetrate through the wall of the colon or rectum, and spread to other areas. Colorectal cancer is a common type of cancer in the United States. It is the second most common cause of death from cancer in the country. The American Cancer Society estimates that 145,000 new cases of colorectal cancer will have been diagnosed in 2005, and about 56,000 people in the United States will have died of this disease. Risk Factors The older you get, the more likely you are to develop colorectal cancer. Other factors that increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer include: Family history – Heredity may play a role in up to 10% of all cases of colorectal cancer. Genetic defects have been linked to a number of cancer syndromes that run in families and make family members more likely to develop polyps and colorectal cancer. A personal history of the disease – If you have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer once, you have an increased risk of developing the disease again. A personal history of adenomatous polyps – A personal history of polyps also increases the risk. Inflammatory bowel disease (chronic ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease) – The longer and more severely the colon is inflamed, the greater the risk of cancer.
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