Oh wow Tammy, that was a fast response! I just want to add a little information about lifestyle factors.
Even if someone has an inherited gene for bowel cancer it does not necessarily mean that they will develop the disease. We can think of a faulty gene as a light switch and cancer as the light – emerging evidence in epigenetics is telling us that simple lifestyle changes can help to prevent this light switch from being turned on:
- maintaining a healthy weight
- enjoying an active lifestyle
- not smoking
- eating a high-fibre diet full of fruit, vegetables and whole grains
- eating moderate amounts of lean red meat and limit or avoid processed meat
- consuming a diet low in fat and salt
- avoiding or limiting our alcohol intake
- protecting skin from sun damage
In addition to these simple lifestyle adjustments, people with one or more first degree relatives (parents, siblings, children) with diagnosed bowel cancer should talk to their doctor about other specific lifestyle changes they can take to reduce their risk. If necessary their doctor may refer them to a family cancer clinic or genetic counseling service.
Regular screening is vitally important, whether a person has a family history of bowel cancer or not! For more information on bowel cancer prevention please, as Tammy offered, visit the Bowel Cancer Australia website at www.bowelcanceraustralia.org
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