News article

Follow the rule of 5 for keeping bowel cancer at bay

Posted:  Friday, October 17, 2014

Bowel cancer or colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in men and the third most common in women worldwide. Generally, faulty lifestyle and diet are implicated to increase the risk of bowel cancer. Earlier studies have illustrated the risk reduction in bowel cancer brought about by individual lifestyle factors. However, a recent German study revealed that combining 5 healthy lifestyle behaviours is much better as the risk of bowel cancer reduces on following each additional factor. This protective effect is more pronounced in men.

Additionally, the researchers found that 22% of the bowel cancer cases in men and 11% of the cases in women could have been avoided had they adopted all the 5 lifestyle behaviours. The 5 healthy lifestyle factors in question are:

• Maintaining a healthy body weight

• Reducing visceral/belly fat deposition

• Exercising regularly

• Cessation of smoking

• Limiting alcohol intake

• Having a healthy diet

A diet low in red and processed meat and rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, yogurt and foods high in fibre was deemed healthy. These encouraging results were published in the journal BMC Medicine.

The researchers arrived at these results by analysing data on 347,237 men and women who were a part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study covering 10 European countries. The EPIC study noted the lifestyle behaviours of the participants and evaluated these details using a ‘healthy lifestyle index’, allotting one point for each one of the five healthy behaviours. Thus, the study participants were graded 0 to 5 based on the number of lifestyle behaviours they practised.

They found that over 12 years of the study, 3,759 of the participants developed colorectal cancer. Compared with people who followed only one of the healthy behaviours, those who followed two, three, four or all five lifestyle behaviours had a 13%, 21%, 34% and 37% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer, respectively.

"Our data confirmed that with an increasing number of healthy lifestyle behaviours the risk that a person will have of developing bowel cancer decreases,” said the researchers. Adding further, they said, “The results particularly demonstrate the potential for prevention in men who are at a higher risk of bowel cancer than women.”

Despite progress in the treatment and diagnosis of bowel cancer, it remains one of the world’s deadliest cancers. However, as shown in the study, by simply initiating healthy lifestyle changes one can prevent or delay the onset of this feared condition. Following the 5 stated lifestyle behaviours can be an incentive not only for individuals but also for medical professionals and public health workers alike.

For study details:-Click Here!