Your Risk

Your Risk Of Developing Bowel Cancer Increases With:

  • Age. Your risk of developing cancer of the bowel rises after the age of 40.
  • A family or a personal history of bowel cancer or of familial polyposis. If this applies to you, then you should take extra care when it comes to looking after your health. (If a close relative developed bowel cancer before the age of 50, then you have a slightly greater risk than average of developing the disease. But don’t worry too much as there is plenty you can do to help protect yourself against getting bowel cancer).
  • Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases. People with any of these conditions have a higher risk than average of developing bowel cancer.
  • A diet high in fat, especially animal fat. If you consume lots of meat, greasy foods or dairy produce then you are markedly increasing your chances of getting cancer of the bowel.
  • Lack of exercise. You should take regular, gentle exercise to decrease your chances of developing the disease. Strenuous exercise has been shown to have no additional benefit whatsoever.
  • Obesity. Studies have shown that excess fat can influence the metabolism to increase cell growth in the colon and in the rectum.
  • Smoking.
  • Alcohol taken in excess. Alcohol is responsible for many illnesses so it is wise, therefore, to drink in moderation.
  • A diet low in fibre. Try eating more fresh fruit and vegetables which are high in fibre. Besides, fresh fruit and vegetables are known to contain protective qualities which can help prevent against the development of cancer.

If you are exposed to any of the risk factors above, it doesn’t mean to say that you are going to go on to develop bowel cancer. However, if any of the above risk factors do apply to you, then it is only sensible to take better care of your health. You might want to discuss preventative measures with your doctor, especially if you have a family or a personal history of bowel cancer or of familial polyps, or if you suffer from ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

Remember, if caught early enough, bowel cancer can be cured. Some people feel embarrassed about discussing bowel problems with their doctor. By the time the patient seeks medical advice because he or she cannot cope any longer with his or her symptoms, it can sometimes be too late. Be sensible; don’t die of embarrassment.