4 Ways to Lower Your Chances of Getting Bowel Cancer

More reasons you should be ‘regular’.



  • Fibre

A healthy diet generally helps in preventing bowel cancer. Recent research by the World Cancer Research Fund linked foods that are high in natural fibre to protection against bowel cancer. The European Prospective Investigation in Cancer (EPIC) has also found that people who ate the most fibre are the least likely to have bowel cancer. Fibre speeds up food’s movement through your digestive system, so any carcinogens consumed are diluted and have minimal contact with the colon lining.

  • Fruits & Veggies

While there isn’t a ‘superfood’ that protects against cancer, fruits and vegetables generally contain varying amounts of fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals. These can help reduce your risk of developing certain cancers.

  • Red Meat

A diet high in red meats (beef, lamb, pork, liver) and processed meats (commercial sausages and luncheon meat) can increase your cancer risk. Moreover, high-temperature cooking such as frying, boiling or grilling creates chemicals that might increase cancer risk – but it’s not clear by how much. Consider saving red meat for special occasions and switching to lightly-cooked fish or chicken instead.


Going for a screening test is one of the most effective ways to prevent colon cancer. Even in cases where cancer has already developed, early detection and surgical removal of the cancer before it spreads significantly improves prognosis. It’s usually recommended for those who are 50 years and above, but get it done earlier if you have a family history of bowel cancer or suffer from inflammatory bowel syndrome. Below are the three common screening methods:

  • Annual faecal occult blood testing

This test detects tiny amounts of blood in the stool, if the cancer or polyps has started bleeding. If blood is detected, other tests should be done to confirm the source of bleeding.

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy

Done every three to five years, doctors will examine the rectum and lower colon for irregularities using a viewing tube.

  • Colonoscopy

Patients with a high risk of bowel cancer may undergo colonoscopies every three to five years before the age of 50. Tissue samples from the test will be taken (biopsy) and sent to the laboratory for further assessment.


Several studies have found that people who do high levels of physical activity can lower their risk of bowel cancer by a third. Every bit counts, whether it’s walking around your neighbourhood park or climbing the stairs of your double-storey house. Reports have also shown that overweight and obese people are more likely to develop polyps, putting them at higher risk of cancer.


The risk of bowel cancer increases by 15 per cent in people who drink 12.5 units of alcohol per week – and increases the more you drink, reports Cancer Research UK.  While shaking off bad habits may be difficult, it’s not impossible. If you’re at an event, have just one drink.

Photo credit: 973fm.com.au




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