The month of March is designated the National Colorectal Cancer month, so I wanted to give you a little bit of information on colorectal cancer, and what you can do to prevent or treat it.
Risk Factors that Increase Your Risk
First off, age is a big risk factor for colorectal cancer because 90% of the people who are diagnosed with it are over 50 years of age. A personal medical history or family history of conditions such as polyps in the colon, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease increases a person’s chances of developing colorectal cancer. As does a family history of colorectal cancer. Smoking, heavy use of alcohol, obesity, eating a high fat diet, regular consumption of red meats, and a sedentary lifestyle all additionally contribute to its development. And lastly, Eastern European Jews have a higher incidence of colon cancer.
Symptoms to Look Out For
Symptoms to be wary of include diarrhea, blood in the stools, abdominal pain, intestinal obstruction, changes in bowel habits, and weight loss with no cause. However, colorectal cancer can also occur without symptoms, so it is extremely important to use screening methods.
Screening in Ontario
In Ontario, everyone aged 50 and up who are not at an increased risk for colon cancer should get a FOBT (Fecal Occult Blood Test) done every two years. However, people who are at an increased risk (ie. have a first degree relative with colorectal cancer) should schedule a colonoscopy either starting at the age of 50 or 10 years earlier than the relative’s diagnosis − whichever comes first.
Prevention is key when it comes to colorectal cancer (actually, for most other cancers too!). Early and diligent screening is a must. Eating a healthy diet with lots of fibre , lots of good types of fats (eg. from fish) and small amounts of red meat is important. In addition, living a healthy lifestyle with plenty of physical exercise, minimal consumption of alcohol and a smoke-free environment will help to decrease your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Naturopathic Treatment Recommendations
If you have already been diagnosed with colorectal cancer:
Diet & Lifestyle
The first step is to take a look at your dietary and lifestyle habits, and commit to a big lifestyle overhaul. In addition to the prevention dietary tips, eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, particularly those that are known to boost and/or support your immune system, and fight cancer is very important.
Maintaining an active lifestyle is also important for cancer patients to increase their energy levels and to uplift their moods.
There are a whole slew of supplements and botanical medicines out there that may be beneficial to colorectal cancer. However, I do have a few words of warning: 1. anyone or any company who claims to “cure cancer” should raise major red flags; and 2. it is extremely important to let every member of your healthcare team know which supplements and botanical medicines you are taking because some of these more “natural” treatments can either interfere with one another or with conventional treatments (including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation).
If you’d like to sit down with me to discuss prevention or Naturopathic support for colorectal cancer, CONTACT ME HERE to set up a complimentary 15 min discovery call/meeting and we can get started.
What’s a discovery call/meeting? It’s where we get to know each other better to ensure that I’m the right practitioner for you and that you have the opportunity to ask your questions about Naturopathic Medicine before we move forward with an initial Naturopathic consultation.
Here are a few more posts on cancer that you might also be interested in:
- IV Vitamin Therapy
- How Does Vitamin C Help with Cancer?
- Roasted Salad Towers Recipe
- The Power of Berries for Cancer
- The Wonders of Green Tea for Cancer Prevention
- National Colon Cancer Month
- Are Red Heads Really at an Increased Risk for Developing Melanoma?
- Will Melatonin Actually Help You Sleep?
- Alschuler L & Gazella KA. 2010. Definitive Guide to Cancer (3rd Ed): An Integrative Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing. Celestial Arts: Berkley, CA.
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