Colon Cancer, also referred to as Colorectal cancer when it affects the rectum, affects both Men and Women; it is the third (3rd) most common type of cancer and second (2nd) leading cause of death in the United States. The American Cancer Society states 1 in 20 Americans will develop Colon Cancer in their lifetime. These are alarming statistics. Good news is if you know the symptoms and get yearly colon check ups after the age of 40 you can STOP COLON CANCER in its tracks. Polyps found early in Stage one carcinomas can be addressed by the doctor with up to a 90% success rate, removing any cancerous or precancerous tissue.
What to look for: Abdominal pain, blood in your stool or very tar-like stool, changes in frequency and appearance. Do not ignore the frequent “cow plobs” left behind in your porcelain god. Weakness or fatigue, Nausea or vomiting, changes in appetite or unintended weight loss. If you experience changes longer than a few weeks visit your Doctor. And report these changes.
- Risk factors include:
- Over the age of 40
- Eating a poor diet high in processed meats, fried foods, refined grains and processed foods
- Diets which do not include high sources of fiber found in fruits and vegetables
- Obesity and being sedentary
- High consumption of alcohol
- Family history of Colon Cancer (1 in 5 will develop Colon Cancer) in every generation, Crohn’s disease, type 2 diabetes
- Exposure to agents in the environment such as pesticides on non-organic fruits and vegetable, asbestos, arsenic, radon gas and other chemicals.
The American Cancer Society encourages any adult over the age of 40 receive a yearly screening. The goal is to find polyps as soon as possible, determine on if they need to be removed and prevent pre-cancerous growths from spreading.
There are 5 stages of Colon Cancer:
Stage 0 – A Carcinoma- cancer has not grown beyond the inner layer of the tissue of the colon. STOP CANCER HERE!!! An office visit can halt cancer in its tracks at this stage.
Stage 1 – The polyp /cancer has grown through the superficial lining and remains in the colon wall. Treatment gets more difficult and odds of stopping the cancer decrease.
Stage 2– Cancer has moved thru the wall of the colon but has not spread to other parts of the body. Surgery imminent.
Stage 3– Cancer has moved to the lymph nodes. Treatment at this stage is full blown, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Stage 4 – Cancer has spread to the other organs.
Treatment at this stage is also, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Adjust your lifestyle habits and add these 7 natural strategies to your daily routine. These strategies are for both helping to prevent Colon Cancer and managing Symptoms if you have been diagnosed with Colon Cancer.
Eliminating foods that promote inflammation and provide little to no nutritional value to your body. This includes processed meats like hot dogs, fast food burgers, pre-packed lunch meats and factory-farm-raised red meat including pork and chicken. This does not mean you have to give up meat. You can find at your local farmers markets, ranchers who take pride in their livestock and stand by the quality of meat they produce. They have a variety of cuts both smoked and natural to suit almost any need. You can pick up the meat you are looking for daily at the market or orders can be placed on line and picked up once a week or once a month, depends on your needs.
Increase your Fiber consumption. A study published in November of 2017 by the Journal of American Medical Association found evidence that by increasing intake of 5 grams of fiber daily in stage 1-3 cancer patients, there was a noted 22% decrease in mortality in an 8-year study.
Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity has been linked to reoccurrence of Colon Cancer. Eliminating processed foods and increasing fiber intake is a good start to weight management.
Stay active and get enough exercise. Start with a daily 20-minute walk.
Regular daily exercise can reduce cancer risk by up to 40%. A daily 20 minute routine also aids in reducing inflammation, improving the immune system, increasing circulation and helps with weight management.The risk of type 2 diabetes is also decreased with a daily walk with your favorite 4-legged friend.
Limit Alcohol consumption and stop smoking. Doctors recommend no more than one alcoholic beverage a day and stop smoking; enough said.
Treat underlying Health Issues. People with a history of Inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease have an increased chance of dysplasia (cells in the lining of the colon which may become cancerous). Be sure to get screened regularly at any age.
Manage Rectal Bleeding. Speak to a nutritionist and eat high-fiber foods that help relieve constipation. Cook green vegetables, add warm organic bone broths and herbal peppermint tea to your diet. Avoid pasteurized dairy products, alcohol, caffeine and fried foods. Cleanse your hemorrhoids with natural soaps without perfumes or chemicals, rinse with plain water and pat dry. You may want to try a natural hemorrhoid cream made with Turmeric and Tea Tree Oil to sooth irritation.
Reduce diarrhea and constipation during recovery. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration can increase during exercise, when your sick or when it is very hot and humid outside. Avoid big high fat meals and space out meals for improved time to digest food. If you experience constipation add foods and beverages that act as natural laxatives. Incorporate stress relieving activities into your day such as yogi, reading or walking. Address nausea with ginger herbal tea, keeping your home cool and walking slowly outdoors for fresh air. Lemon or peppermint essential oils diffused into the air in your home may also be helpful.
Be Proactive and increase your chances of stopping Colon Cancer in its tracks. A short 1-2 hour visit and procedure at the doctor’s office or outpatient surgical clinic can make a lifetime of difference in your future. A few healthy changes in your diet and lifestyle will improve chances of staying out of a hospital and experiencing months of radiation and chemotherapy. If you would like more information on good food suggestions, herbal suggestions and Nutrients to consider for IBD flare-ups check out the Nutrition pantry blog in this month’s web-magazine. Take care of you and enjoy more life with your family and community.