Prevention of Colorectal Cancer: Eat Fruits and Veggies Daily
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Prevention of Colorectal Cancer: Eat Fruits and Veggies Daily

What is cancer? What is colon cancer? What is colorectal cancer? The National Colorectal Awareness Month is globally celebrated in the month of March. Colorectal cancer begins in the digestive system also known as the gastrointestinal system. This cancer grows very slowly, starts as a polypus – a growth of tissue that begins in the lining and grows in the middle of the colon or rectum.

PREVENTION OF COLORECTAL CANCER: EAT FRUITS AND VEGGIES DAILY

What is colorectal cancer? Colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in either the rectum or the colon. Both colon and rectal cancer have many features in common. Colorectal cancer begins in the digestive system, also called the gastrointestinal system. To understand more of this cancer type is to know about the structure and the activity of the digestive system.

The Digestive System

The digestive organs processes food for energy and the last stage of it absorbs fluid to form solid waste that then passes from the body. The food is chewed and swallowed, from the mouth, travels to the stomach where foodstuff are broken down and sent to the small intestines. It has the length of about 20 feet claiming that the small intestine is the longest part of the digestive system.

The small intestine also separate down the food and absorbs most of the nutrients. It now goes to the large intestine also called the large bowel or the colon – a muscular tube about 5 feet long. The colon serves as the absorber of water and nutrients from the food and also serves as a storage home for waste matters. The waste product moves from the colon to the rectum – the last 6-inches part of the digestive system and from there the waste moves out of the body through the anus.

The wall of the colon and rectum is composing of four layers of tissues. Colorectal cancer starts in the inner most layer and can grow through some or all the other layers. The stage of the illness reckons to a great degree of how deep the cancer goes into these layers.

Unnatural Growths in Colon and Rectum

Cancer that starts in these areas induces unlike symptoms but both colon cancer and rectal cancer exhibits many things in common. In many cases, colorectal cancer grows very slowly over many years, starts as a polypus – a growth of tissue that begins in the lining and grows in the middle of the colon or rectum. This may or may not be cancerous.    

Awareness Month

The Department of Health (DOH) declared a strong reminder to Filipinos, many of whom are red-meat eaters. This was marked last March which is globally observed as the National Colorectal Awareness Month.  

The Health Secretary, Secretary Enrique Ona emphasized the country’s need to pay great interest to this type of cancer – ranked as fourth among the common cancer that affects the Filipinos.

Statistics states that more than 5,700 Filipinos were reported to have been diagnosed to colorectal cancer. The figure was gathered from the database of the Philippine Cancer Society, records from Phil-Health that may arise as it merely represented the reported cases only.

DOH is trying to make sure that this awareness reaches the people, be knowledgeable about this no communicable disease, what they must know and what they can do to prevent the occurrence.

Worldwide, about 1.2 million new cases of colorectal cancers cases which starts either in the large intestine or rectum are reported every year. More than half of these figures may develop advance stages of the diseases and approximately more than 600,000 deaths are recorded yearly.

Notable Victims

The Philippine Society of Medical Oncology (PSMO) mentioned that even if the cancer affected famous persons like the late President Corazon Aquino, it had not reached the attention of public awareness. It did not even reach the level of awareness of the far-famed malignancy, which is breast cancer.

Among the list of the famous personas that had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer were Pope John Paul II, President Ronald Reagan, the Peanuts inventor Charles Schultz and actress Audrey Hepburn.

People aged 50 and above are susceptible to colorectal cancer and one out of four of them may have polypus or inflammatory bowel disease, a colon cancer forerunner. Other risk factors are family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and colorectal cancer.

Dr. Dennis Tudtud of PSMO noted that the high intake of red processed and barbecued meats, obesity, smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol and don’t forget the sedentary lifestyle were among the risk factors that can be restrained.

Kicking the smoking habit, cutting consumption of red meats like steak and increased amount of fiber-rich vegetables and seasoned fruits will help prevent the disease. Regular exercises for at least 30 minutes three times a week like walking will be a great help.

Ideal Food Consumption

According to Dr. Felycette Martinez-Lapus, the president of the PSMO, the ideal intake of fruits and vegetables should be at least five servings a day. “A serving is equivalent to the size of a fist,” she stated.

Early consultation and detection, which can be done through digital rectal examination, colonoscopy, and fetal occult blood test and among other test, increases the chance of curability.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer include constipation, sporadic constipation and diarrhea, habitual change of bowel, weight loss, blood in stool, over-fatigue, appetite loss, nausea and vomiting, gas pain or cramps.

Focus on Prevention than Cure

Antioxidant foods are very good for prevention of diseases like heart disease and cancers.

Foods containing Vitamin C are citrus fruits and their juices, dark green vegetables (spinach, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, other greens), tomato and tomato juices, guava and papaya, mangoes and pineapple.

Vitamin E foods are vegetable oils coming from olives, soybean, corn and safflower, nuts and nut butter, sweet potatoes and root crops, whole grains like wheat and oatmeal, legumes and dark leafy green veggies. Selenium is a great element found in nuts, dairy products, garlic and onions, wheat germ and most vegetables.

Beta carotene can be derived from variety of dark orange, red yellow and green vegetables such as carrots, kale, broccoli, red and yellow pepper, apricots, including cantaloupe and mangoes.

Eat these foods daily as much as possible for cancer prevention. Do not forget the exercises.  

Primary Image Source: http://www.colorectal-cancer.ca/IMG/jpg/colon.jpg

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Comments (15)

Very detailed and informative, Ron - each day we are realizing just how important fruits and vegetables are in our diet.

An excellent detailed analysis of this desease that unfortunately affects so many people around the world. Thank you for the great tips you give here. You are so right prevention is better than cure. 

Very best wishes to you, my friend. Have a great day!

Ranked #21 in Cancer & Therapy

Excellent ! very informative...

An excellent article, Ron. Very well researched and well-written. In=depth information yet very easy to follow and comprehend.

Excellent report!

Great advice, I know I need to eat more fruit in my diet.

Even better if a person can grow their own fruits and veges - chemical free!

Thanks everyonr for the kind thoughts, read and comments.

very good advice, I only wish farmers would stop spraying pesticides

Excellent write-up on how to prevent colorectal cancer.

So true about it. FB liked.

Excellent. You brought this necessary information to the awareness of the people. Now they need to read and absorb it.

very good as usual

Thank you for the detailed and well researched article Ron.

Unfortunately I am a strict carnivore, I hope this article would make me change my diet. Unfortunate that many people became victims of this cancer.

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