You might not have symptoms right away from colorectal cancer, which is why getting screened regularly is so important. You could have the beginnings of colorectal cancer and not know it.
When colorectal cancer does cause symptoms, they are:
- Stomach or abdominal pain
- A change in your bowel movements that lasts for more than a few days (number, texture, size)
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
- Blood in your bowel movements
- Feeling weak or tired
- Unintended weight loss
The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is by getting regular screening tests, such as a colonoscopy. However, there are other ways to help maintain a healthy body and prevent colorectal cancer, as well as other deadly diseases. One of those is by eating a healthy diet.
- High-fiber whole grains, including whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice and barley
- Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and romaine lettuce
- Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts
Green leafy vegetables are important because they contain carotenoids. Carotenoids help prevent cancer by acting as antioxidants. Folate, also contained in these veggies, may offer protection against colorectal cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables contain substances that have been associated with a lower risk for cancer. They may help protect against cancers in the breast, endometrium (cervical), lung, colon and liver.
Do not eat or drink:
- Foods rich in animal fats
- Red meat (or at least limit it)
Diets high in red meat have been associated with an increased risk for colon cancer. To eat less meat, think of fruits, vegetables and whole grains as the entrée at meals, with meat as the side dish.
You can drink a little, but it would be better to not drink at all. Alcohol has been associated with an increased risk for colon cancer.
Check out our Colon Health Pinterest board for more examples of healthy foods and recipes.