A new study suggests regular exercise decreases the risk of developing abnormal colon tissue that can lead to colon cancer.
You’ve heard it from your doctor, and you’ve heard it on the news: exercise is important. But are you listening? According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than three-quarters of the U.S. population is not getting enough exercise and is putting their health at risk.
Exercise can provide many benefits like supporting bone and muscle health, improving cardiovascular fitness, managing weight and lowering both cholesterol and blood pressure. Exercise can also help reduce the risk of cancer, especially colon cancer.
New research reveals regular physical activity could make you 23 percent less likely to develop precancerous growths in the colon. Furthermore, regular exercise could make you 27 percent less likely to develop the most aggressive precancerous growths that are more prone to progress into colon cancer.
Although the study did not reveal precisely how exercise reduces the risk of colon tumor development, the researchers theorized that physical activity could improve digestion, reducing the time acid or carcinogens are in the digestive tract. Another theory is that exercise could lower blood sugar by making the body more efficient at using insulin to convert glucose into energy.
Along with exercise, you can reduce your risk for precancerous colon tumors by:
A common misconception about colon cancer is that only older adults develop the disease, but this is not true. Colon cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States, and the rate of young-onset colon cancer is steadily rising each year. Because colon cancer often has no symptoms in the early stages, it can be challenging to diagnose.
For this reason, the American Cancer Society recommends all adults at average risk for colon cancer begin colon cancer screening at the age of 45. Individuals who have certain risk factors for colon cancer should talk with their doctor about getting screened earlier. Some of these risk factors include:
Talk with your doctor about when you should get screened for colon cancer and how often you should be screened. A colonoscopy is the most comprehensive type of screening because it can detect and prevent colon cancer in a single procedure. The best news is that a clear colonoscopy means you probably will not need to be screened for another 10 years!
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