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Healthy lifestyles may lower bowel cancer risk

Harold Mandel's picture
Leading a healthy lifestyle

According to researchers men who have a high genetic risk of getting bowel cancer over the next 25 years could have a decreased risk of developing the disease if they adhere to a healthy lifestyle.


Bowel cancer, or colorectal cancer, is a very serious disease. Although in many instances if it is diagnosed early it may be curable it is still clearly preferable to attempt to prevent getting bowel cancer.

A healthy lifestyle can lower bowel cancer risk

Cancer Research UK reports there may be less of a risk of developing bowel cancer in men who have a high genetic risk of getting the disease if they adhere to a healthy lifestyle. In men who are 50 years old with a high genetic risk of developing bowel cancer the risk drops from 29 percent to 13 percent of getting the disease within the next 25 years if they live a healthy lifestyle.

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Professor Richard Houlston, who is a professor of molecular and population genetics at The Institute of Cancer Research, says that bowel cancer is one of the largest cancer killers. Furthermore the number of cases of bowel cancer are increasing in the Western world.

Healthy lifestyle targets include not smoking, weight control, low alcohol consumption, a diet low in meat, and being physically active

Jessica Kirby, who is Cancer Research UK’s senior health information manager, says we now know that adhering to a
healthy lifestyle decreases the risk of getting bowel cancer. Greater than 50 percent of bowel cancers could be prevented primarily via lifestyle changes. Positive lifestyle changes which could have such an impact include not being a smoker, maintaining a healthy weight, cutting down on alcohol consumption, eating a diet which is high in fiber and low in red meat and processed meat and being physically active.

This study has been published in the journal Genetics in Medicine. It has been observed that individuals at a higher genetic risk for bowel cancer may benefit greatly from healthy lifestyles. The promotion of healthy lifestyles should be a priority in the health care system.