There are three main aspects in the lifestyle that characterize the population of industrialized countries in favor of the development of colorectal cancer: poor diet, overweight and lack of physical activity. With simple changes to these parameters, it is estimated that approximately 70% of colon cancers can be prevented.
A large number of studies indicate that colon cancer is directly related to the lifestyle of people in industrialized countries. This relationship is well illustrated by the high incidence of this cancer in economically developed countries (North America, Australia and Europe in particular), where the population of these countries is affected up to 25 times more often than the population of certain regions of the world. Especially from Africa. Further evidence comes from recent studies on the incidence of colorectal cancer in emerging countries. In just 20 years, that is, between 1983 and 2002, the incidence of colorectal cancer has increased in a large number of countries in economic transition, and this increase is associated with the adoption of lifestyle habits, characteristic of industrialized countries.
One of the best examples is undoubtedly Japan, a country that has radically changed its way of life since the end of World War II: while the incidence of colorectal cancer was four times lower than in the West before World War II. During the war, the adoption of the Western lifestyle by the Japanese led to a meteoric rise in this cancer, which is now more common in Japan than in America. In some parts of the country, the death rate associated with colorectal cancer has increased by more than 90% in just a few decades!
Colon cancer: the three most important levers that work to prevent it
1) More plants, less red meat. Plant-based products (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) contain fiber and vitamins as well as many anti-cancer molecules that slow the progression of colorectal cancer. A recent study of 500,000 Europeans suggests that people who consume abundant plant-based products have a 40% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. Some sources rich in phytochemicals, including green tea, significantly reduce the risk of developing this cancer. This protective effect is intensified as increased consumption of vegetables is combined with a decrease in red meat consumption: in fact, several studies indicate that meat eaters, especially meat cooked at high temperatures, have a significantly higher risk of developing. Colon Cancer.
2) Maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight and obese is a major risk factor for colorectal cancer, with obese individuals having an increased risk of nearly 50%. This harmful effect of excess weight is caused by a marked increase in the level of insulin in the blood as well as by the generation of chronic inflammation, two factors that promote the development of cancer cells.
3) Regular physical activity.
A sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for many diseases, including colorectal cancer. A large number of studies indicate that regular physical activity cuts the risk of this cancer in half, an effect linked to the beneficial effect of exercise on blood insulin levels as well as reducing inflammation.
The devastation caused by colon cancer is a concrete example of the impact our way of life has on the development of cancer. However, we can turn the tides and dramatically reduce the incidence and mortality associated with this disease through simple changes in our habits.
In this sense, a diet richer in plants, maintaining a healthy weight and adopting a more active lifestyle are undoubtedly the best ways to achieve this goal.
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