Lifestyle Changes to Manage Colorectal Cancer
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In addition to medical treatments, the following lifestyle changes are important for colorectal cancer treatment.
General Guidelines for Managing Colorectal Cancer
Eat a Healthy Diet
Diets that are high in fat (particularly fat from animal sources, such as meat) and low in fruits and vegetables increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Until recently, it was believed that a high- fiber diet]]>, low-fat diet provided protection against colorectal cancer. However, recent research indicates that this type of diet, while healthy, may not provide the desired protective effect. Nevertheless, doctors continue to recommend a well-balanced, low-fat diet containing fruits and vegetables, as there are significant health benefits to this type of diet.
When you are being treated for colorectal cancer, you may well have to modify your diet. If you are receiving chemotherapy and having nausea and diarrhea, you may need to avoid spicy, high-fat and high-fiber foods that aggravate your symptoms. If you have undergone colostomy, you may find that you feel better and are better able to manage your stoma by managing the foods you eat. You may, for a period, require nutritional supplementation to help maintain you weight and health. Talk to your doctor and a dietician about your particular needs. Keep in mind, your dietary needs may change as treatment progresses.
Regular exercise]]> has been shown to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Even moderate exercise (30 minutes per day) is beneficial.
You may continue to exercise during your treatment as your physical condition allows. Ask your physician before undertaking any new or particularly strenuous exercise program.
Obesity]]> has been found to increase the risk of colorectal cancer, particularly when the weight is distributed in the waist, rather than on hips and thighs. Doctors recommend losing excess weight to reduce colorectal cancer risk.
To reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, stop smoking. Smokers are 30%-40% more likely to die of colorectal cancer than nonsmokers. Even if you have already been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, stopping smoking]]> will aid your recover and reduce your risk for other health complications.
Use Alcohol in Moderation
Regular use of alcohol among smokers and people with high-fat diets appears to increase the risk of colorectal cancer. However, there does not seem to be an increased risk among people who drink alcohol, but eat diets high in fiber. During the time you are being treated with chemotherapy, it is is wise to avoid alcohol altogether.
National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/ .
Last reviewed February 2009 by ]]>Daus Mahnke, MD ]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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