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5 key healthy lifestyle changes help prevent Bowel and Colon Cancer PDF Print Email
5 key healthy lifestyle changes could cut Bowel and Colon Cancer by almost a quarter.

Approximately 1.2 million cases of colon cancer diagnosed each year worldwide could be prevented by getting people to eat a healthy diet, stop smokiong, cut down on alcohol and exercise more said Scitentists on Wednesday.

Researchers from Denmark found that following recommended guidelines on physical activity, waist circumference, smoking, alcohol consumption and diet could reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer by as much as 23 percent.

"Our study reveals the useful public health message that even modest differences in lifestyle might have a substantial impact on colorectal cancer risk," said Anne Tjonneland of the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology at the Danish Cancer Society, who led the study.

Colorectal cancer, ( or bowel or colon cancer), kills around half a million people each year worldwide. Xeloda from Roche Pharmaceuticals and Eloxatine from Sanofi-Aventis are among leading drugs licensed for the treatment of the disease. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1.23 million people in 2008.

Anne Tjonnel her colleagues studied data on 55,487 men and women aged between 50 and 64 who had not previously been diagnosed with cancer and followed them for almost 10 years.

Participants recorded lifestyle and diet histories and the researchers created a healthy lifestyle index using health recommendations from the World Health Organization, World Cancer Research Fund and the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations.

These included:
  1. not smoking
  2. at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity
  3. no more than seven drinks a week for women and 14 drinks a week for men
  4. a waist circumference below 88 cm (35 inches) for women and 102 cm (40 inches) for men
  5. eating a healthy diet

The results, published in the British Medical Journal, showed that during the follow-up period, 678 people were

diagnosed with bowel cancer. After analyzing how well the participants had kept to the five lifestyle tips, the researchers calculated that if all of

them had followed even one extra guideline, around 13 percent of colon cancer cases could have been prevented. If all of them had followed all five, 23 percent of cases could have been avoided. In previous studies, 14 gene variations have been identified that each increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer by up to 2 times, and a study published last month found how a single variant in a person's genetic code can lead to the development of the disease. But experts say a having good diet and healthy lifestyle are likely to play a far greater role in a person's colon cancer risk. The researchers said the findings emphasized the importance of continuing "vigorous efforts" to convince people to follow health lifelstyle recommendations.