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Fighting bowel cancer – how exercise can help

  • 10
  • June 1, 2019

A fundraiser for bowel cancer

The start of June is an important time for those fighting bowel cancer. It marks the start of an initiative called ‘step up for 30‘.

Bowel Cancer UK is encouraging you to exercise for 30 minutes a day for the 30 days of June.

It’s a great way to raise funds to help combat the disease. And, in addition, it’s a useful jolt to help people establish healthier habits.

We look at why Bowel Cancer is such a big issue. And also, look at what role exercise can take in helping to defeat it.

Fighting bowel cancer

Fighting bowel cancer

The problem of bowel cancer

Unfortunately, Bowel Cancer is one of the most devastating types of cancer. And sadly, it is all too common. In fact, after Breast Cancer, it ranks near the top of the table with lung and prostate as the condition that affects the largest percentage of people.

Indeed, the four cancers above account for almost half of all those diagnosed with the disease in the UK.

Bowel Cancer is fairly indiscriminate too. It affects slightly more men (54%) than women (46%) but both sexes are very susceptible.

Survival rates are reasonably high for the earliest stages of the disease (1 & 2). But survival rates by stage 4 are less than 50%. It’s a nasty and de-personalising condition that clearly needs to be avoided if at all possible.

Progress with fighting bowel cancer

Thankfully, there have been some breakthroughs with regard to diagnosis and treatment. Improvements in genetic profiling, surgical techniques and immunotherapy have all played their part.

But increasingly, the importance of regulating diet and exercise is coming to the fore.

How dietary changes might help

Giving sound advice on diet is often a minefield. However, there are a couple of largely accepted factors that have an impact on your propensity to catch the disease.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) eating too much red and processed meat puts you at a higher risk. As a guide, you should either eliminate it altogether or reduce consumption to no more than 500g per week.

Conversely, you should be looking to increase intake of whole grains such as brown rice or whole wheat bread. 

And lastly, an overall healthy diet may help to reduce weight. This is significant, as being overweight or obese is correlated with a higher risk of many cancers, including bowel cancer.

How exercise can help

It has long been known that exercise can help reduce the risk of bowel cancer. But what is less known, is that it can also help beat the disease once it has started.

According to research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in the US, 3-6 hours of exercise a week can be massively beneficial.

They looked at a large cohort of females in stage 3 of the condition. They found that those who exercised regularly had a much better survival rate. Interestingly, increasing your level of activity was also related to improvements.

And this exercise needn’t be overly rigorous. Walking, jogging, gardening or swimming all count.

There are many factors at play here. Exercise can help reduce weight. It can also help boost the lymphatic and endocrine system. And vitally, in relation to bowel health, it helps reduce the time it takes food to move through the large intestine.

A final word

If you would like to find out more about ways to incorporate more exercise into your schedule. And also to find out more in-depth details about making dietary changes. Please contact us, we will be happy to help.

 

 

 

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