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8 Ways to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

8 Ways to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

When talking about cancers , the first that come to mind and which most concern most of the population are breast cancer and prostate cancer. But there is a type of cancer that is among the most frequent, but is quite overlooked: colorectal cancer, located in the lower part of the digestive tract. Every year, about 1.4 million cases are diagnosed worldwide, and approximately 700,000 deaths are associated with it.

"Colorectal cancer is increasing progressively. In Brazil, it grows especially in the South and Southeast, because it is more common in places with a high standard of living, "says endoscopist Giulio Rossini of the Oswaldo Cruz German Hospital. "Today, it is the third most frequent type of cancer in men and the second among women."

He says the disease is linked to low fiber diets, obesity, excessive consumption of processed meats and cigarettes, sedentary lifestyle and genetics. Among the warning signs, the doctor cites the change in bowel rhythm, bleeding in the region and abdominal distention. "It is a silent disease that requires special attention in prevention," he says.

Colonoscopy: simple examination that prevents and detects colorectal cancer

The most effective method for the prevention and diagnosis of colorectal cancer is colonoscopy . It is a simple examination, done with the patient sedated, by means of a flexible tube that is introduced by the anus. This tube is very small (1.2 cm) and has a microchamber and two light sources for viewing the bowel.

In patients who do not have risk factors, colonoscopy should be done every 10 years, from of 50 years of age. If the doctor accompanying routine examinations of men or women notices features that require extra attention, you can ask for a colonoscopy before that age or at a shorter interval.

Unfortunately, there is still some resistance from the population to undergo a colonoscopy. Rossini explains that this is due to myths of the past (the test was done with a rigid tube and there was no sedation, which caused discomfort and even intestinal lesions), concern about the preparation of the intestine (you need to take laxatives, which causes unavoidable diarrhea so that the intestine is clean and the result is not compromised by filth in front of the camera) and the resistance of the Latin culture to the introduction of anything by the anus. When these taboos are overcome, all only have to gain from routine colonoscopy. "If a polyp is found during the examination, it can be removed at the same time, before it progresses to a tumor." The device also diagnoses precancerous lesions and detects cancer at a very early stage. "

Hence the need to raise awareness about the importance of the examination, made by initiatives such as the September Green campaign of the Center for Oncology of the Hospital German Oswaldo Cruz

"We must pay attention to the Green September as it happens to the October Rose, for breast cancer, and to the Blue November, for prostate cancer. to be more widespread among the population.It is a campaign for life, "says Rossini.

The global index of polyp detection through colonoscopy, according to Rossini, around 20% to 30%, a standard maintained by the German Hospital Oswaldo Cruz. The accuracy and excellence of the examinations performed at the hospital allowed them to be approved by the Ministry of Education (MEC) to be an Endoscopy Training Center for physicians."We are a team of more than 40 professionals, with expertise recognized nationally and internationally in the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer," says Rossini.

Know the factors protectors of colorectal cancer

In addition to prevention and detection by colonoscopy, it is possible to protect the body against colorectal cancer through diet and everyday habits. The oncologist Renata D'Alpino Peixoto of the German Hospital Oswaldo Cruz explains what these protective factors are and how they work in the body.

Regular physical activity

According to Renata, the practice of physical exercises protects the body against colorectal cancer in two ways: by decreasing insulin resistance - which stimulates all cells to grow, including cancer cells - and by releasing endorphin, a hormone that strengthens the immune system. The population that adopts physical activities on a daily basis has a 25% lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Fruit and vegetable diet

The more fruits and vegetables are present in the dish, the less space there will be for processed fats and meats , which increase the risk of colorectal cancer. "There is also a check on obesity and a decrease in insulin resistance," says the doctor, who clarifies that there is no exact definition of how many fruits and vegetables should be consumed daily, but rather an estimate that 800 grams per day can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 25 percent.

Fiber-rich diet

Fiber from cereals and vegetables, such as broccoli, kale and spinach, accelerate intestinal transit and lessen intestinal mucosal cells, the risk of development of colorectal cancer.

Consumption of milk and derivatives

"It is the most controversial protective factor", recognizes the oncologist Renata D'Alpino Peixoto. She continues: "Experimental studies show that there is less risk of colorectal cancer when milk and its derivatives are frequently consumed, but the reason for this relationship is still unknown."

Adequate levels of vitamin D

The oncologist Hospital German Oswaldo Cruz explains that "patients with metastatic diseases, such as cancer, present better pictures with vitamin D, probably because they decrease inflammation."

Adequate levels of vitamin D absorption by the body can come from the combination between balanced diet and exposure to the sun or supplementation, since much of the population does not have access to the daily sun baths needed. Consult a physician to determine the best way to absorb the substance.

Fish consumption

Regularly eating fish also helps to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Just as in the case of fruits and vegetables, the exact quantity is not known, but the entry of the fish into the processed meat of the dish is associated, a substitution that only brings benefits to the health of all. aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

"Patients with aspirin-containing polyps have a lower risk of developing new polyps," says the oncologist. But be careful: the use of this type of medication should never be done without the advice of a doctor.

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