Colorectal cancer, more commonly known as colon cancer, is the third most common type of cancer in the western hemisphere. In the United States alone, it strikes more than 150,000 men and women every year. Any diagnosis of cancer can have a devastating effect on a patient and their family. Colon cancer is no different. With the statistics for colorectal cancer rising every year, it is clear that conventional medicine has had little luck in defeating this life threatening disease. But as the old saying would have it, “the best medicine is prevention”. Today, more and more people are educating themselves on what they can do to prevent colon cancer. What they’re finding is what holistic clinicians have known all along. The balance of mind and body, coupled with proper nutrition, is the best defense against all physical disorders.
Causes and Symptoms of Colon Cancer
Colon cancer has a number of different causes. Studies suggest that certain people have a genetic predisposition for colon cancer, and that lifestyle and dietary habits are major triggers for the development of the disease. Cigarette smoking, and the regular consumption of red meat, has been linked to the growth of polyps in the colon that are likely to develop into cancerous tumors. Men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer also have a greater likelihood of developing colon cancer.
Unfortunately, the most common symptoms of colon cancer tend not to present themselves in the earliest stages of the disease. This can make it difficult to diagnose, which is why it is important to have regular screenings for the disease. The most common symptoms of colon cancer include abdominal pain, constipation, fatigue and feeling as though you constantly need to empty your bowel.
Diet and Colon Cancer
Diet plays a large part in the predisposition for any cancer, and sound nutritional choices should be the foundation of all cancer prevention. Transitioning to a vegan plant based diet can dramatically lower the risk for colon cancer. Red meat and highly processed meat products have been linked to an increased risk for colon cancer, and should be eliminated from the diet. A new emphasis should be placed on organic fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts and avocados as a dietary staple. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty aids, such as flax seed, hemp seeds, walnuts, broccoli and spinach, are also key components in a cancer fighting diet.
Obesity has also been linked to colon cancer, and maintaining a healthy weight can greatly reduce the risk for developing the disease. A predominantly vegan diet helps to maintain a healthy weight, and can also reduce the risk of diabetes, which is often a precursor to the development of colon cancer. Combining these dietary changes with regular exercise is the foundation of a cancer prevention lifestyle.
Exercise and Colon Cancer
Regular exercise has been proven to lower the risk of cancer, and should be a part of everyone’s healthy lifestyle. High intensity and short duration vigorous exercise can help to reduce the risk of colon cancer and other bowel disorders. Exercise helps the body to process nutrients more effectively, and to dispose of dangerous toxins through sweat. Exercise also helps individuals to maintain a healthy weight, which is the enemy of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Regular moderate to vigorous daily exercise also plays a vital role in oxygenating the body’s cells, giving them the nutrients they need to heal damaged tissue and prevent the growth of cancerous cells.
Nutritional Supplements and Colon Cancer
In addition to a healthy diet and exercise, certain nutritional supplements appear to have anti-cancer properties. When used as part of a sound dietary plan, these supplements can help make the body an unwelcome host to cancerous, and precancerous, cells. St. John’s Wort has been shown to lower the risk of colorectal cancer in otherwise healthy individuals by as much as 63%. Regular doses omega 3 fatty acids appear to lower the risk of colon cancer by 27% to 35%. Vitamin D has also shown to be helpful in strengthening the immune systems fight against colon cancer. These nutritional supplements are easy to integrate into a healthy diet, and are entirely natural.
The best cancer prevention begins with providing the body with the tools it needs to achieve and maintain total health. Good nutrition, coupled with cancer fighting supplements, allows the body to repair and recharge itself on a daily basis. Exercise reinforces the natural cancer fighting ability of the body. By making the right dietary and lifestyle choices, we restore the natural balance of our bodies, and release our God given right to achieve and maintain total health.