Three main aspects of the typical lifestyle of residents of industrialized countries favor the development of colon cancer: poor nutrition, obesity and lack of exercise. With simple changes to these parameters, it is estimated that nearly 70% of colorectal cancers could be prevented.
A large number of studies indicate that colon cancer is directly related to the lifestyle of people in industrialized countries. This association is well illustrated by the high incidence of this cancer in economically developed countries (particularly North America, Australia and Europe), with residents of these countries being affected up to 25 times more than residents of certain regions of the world. especially from Africa. Another clue comes from recent studies on the incidence of colorectal cancer in emerging markets. In just under 20 years, ie between 1983 and 2002, the incidence of colorectal cancer increased dramatically in a large number of countries in economic transition, with this increase correlating with the adoption of lifestyle characteristics of the industrialized countries.
One of the best examples is undoubtedly Japan, a country that has drastically changed its way of life since the end of World War II: while colon cancer rates there were four times lower than in the pre-war West, the Japanese adoption of the Western way of life caused a meteoric rise this type of cancer, which is now more common in Japan than in America. In some parts of the country, colorectal cancer-related mortality has increased by more than 90% in just a few decades!
Colorectal cancer: the three most important levers to activate to prevent it
1) MORE VEGETABLES, LESS RED MEAT. Plant products (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) contain fiber, vitamins and several anti-cancer molecules that slow the development of colon cancer. A recent study of 500,000 Europeans shows that people who consume plenty of plant-based products have about a 40% lower risk of developing colon cancer. Certain sources rich in phytochemicals, including green tea, also significantly reduce the risk of this cancer. This protective effect is all the more reinforced when the increased consumption of plants is accompanied by a reduced consumption of red meat: in fact, several studies indicate that large carnivores, especially overcooked meat, have a significantly higher risk of developing colon cancer.
2) MAINTAINING A HEALTHY WEIGHT.
Overweight and obesity are an important risk factor for colorectal cancer, with obese individuals having an approximately 50% higher risk of developing the disease. This harmful effect of obesity is caused by a significant increase in insulin levels in the blood and the development of chronic inflammation, two parameters that promote the growth of cancer cells.
3) REGULAR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.
Physical inactivity is a risk factor for several diseases, including colon cancer. A large number of studies indicate that regular physical activity halves the risk of cancer, an effect that is linked to the positive effects of exercise on blood insulin levels and reducing inflammation.
The devastation caused by colon cancer is a concrete example of the influence of our lifestyle on the development of cancer. However, we can reverse the trend and drastically reduce the incidence and mortality associated with this disease with simple changes in our habits.
With that in mind, a plant-based diet, a healthy weight, and a more active lifestyle are undoubtedly the best ways to achieve this goal.
* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.
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