No, I didn't get the headline backwards. Many of us are aware of ways to decrease our colon cancer risk factors. However, sometimes we learn better when things are reframed for us. I extrapolated the absolute worst things you can do for your colon here. Don't take this organ for granted - it may get diseased if you don't care for it.
Image © Sebastian Kaulitzki/Dreamstime
Skip Your Screening
According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer screening exams are the foremost way to decrease your risk of colon cancer. The hypothesis is simple: skip your screening exams and your risk increases. Adults without a family history or personal risk factors may start their screening exams around 50 years, but if you have a history or risk factors you will need to get screened sooner.
Charbroil Animal Meats
With the football games and tailgating behind us, we still need to pay attention to the correlation between colon cancer and charbroiled foods. When you toss a slab of ribs on the grill, two chemical compounds are released. Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are carcinogens (things that are known to cause cancer) that are ingested by eating grilled animal flesh, according to The Cancer Project. According to The Cancer Project, grilled chicken breast has the highest levels of HCAs and PAHs.
Sit on The Couch
The benefits of exercise don't stop at your heart and lungs. It's not just obesity -- belly fat is directly linked to an increased risk of colon cancer as well, per the American Cancer Society. We are not all marathon runners or athletes, but you don't need to be an Olympian to reap the benefits of exercise. Talk to your doctor about starting an exercise program and get started today.
Smoke and Drink
Tobacco use and drinking excess alcohol increases your risk of many cancers, the colon included. Keep your alcohol drinking within moderation and make an effort to quit smoking altogether to decrease your risk of colon cancer.
Eat Whatever You Like
In a perfect world, I could eat Cheetos instead of carrot sticks and have ice cream for dessert after every meal. However, if we want to keep our colons happy we need to balance our diet with healthful nutrients, fiber and plant foods. The American Cancer Society encourages limiting consumption of red and processed meats and increasing the amount of fruits and veggies you eat.
American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Colorectal Cancer: Can Colorectal Cancer Be Prevented?. Accessed February 2, 2012.
National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Colorectal Cancer Screening. Accessed January 18, 2012.
The Cancer Project. (August 2005). The Five Worst Foods to Grill. Accessed February 2, 2012.