June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month
Bowel Cancer is Australia's second deadliest cancer, but it is one of the most treatable types of cancer if found early.
Although it is more common with advancing age, it affects everyone, young and old, and nearly 300 Australians will be diagnosed with bowel cancer this week.
Here are nine ways to protect your health.
1. Get screened
Bowel cancer is treatable and beatable if detected early. Get screened – people who do reduce their risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16% compared to those who don't.
2. Watch your alcohol
Drinking two or more alcoholic drinks per day significantly increases bowel cancer risk.
3. Stay in a healthy weight
Limit fat around the middle. Bowel cancer risk rises with increased body fat, particularly waist-hip ratio.
4. Enjoy calcium
Dairy products and calcium supplements are linked with a decreased risk of bowel cancer. Consuming 200 grams of milk or 200mg of dietary calcium per day was associated with a 6% reduced bowel cancer risk.
5. Get moving
Physical activity can reduce colon (not rectal) cancer by 16%. Try to be physically active (where the heart rate is elevated) every day in any way for 30 minutes or more. As your fitness improves, increase the length of time, you are active to 60 minutes or choose in more vigorous activity.
6. Get treated
If you have bowel polyps, getting them may lower the risk of bowel cancer.
7. Stub it out
Smoking 40 cigarettes per day increases the risk of bowel cancer by around 40% and nearly doubles the risk of bowel cancer death.
8. Watch your intake of red meat
Eating too much red and processed meat has been linked with an increased risk of bowel cancer. If you eat red meat, do not eat more than three portions per week. Three portions are equivalent to about 350-500 grams cooked weight. Eat very little, if any, processed meat.
9. Enjoy whole grains
Three servings (a total of 90 grams) of whole grains daily; choose brown rice or wholemeal bread; it can reduce the risk of bowel cancer by 17%. Pile two-thirds or more of your plate with whole grains, veggies, fruits, beans, and nuts; limit animal protein to just a third of your plate.