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Bowel cancer develops in the lining of your colon or rectum, the final parts of your digestive system. Your colon is where water and salts are absorbed from your food.
The lining of your digestive system has the job of preventing dangerous and toxic substances from entering your body while allowing through what your body needs, for example vitamins and minerals. This means your digestive lining comes into direct contact with all sorts of substances. If the cells of the lining become damaged and inflamed, rogue cells have an opportunity to form and cancer can develop.
Often the first warning signs of bowel cancer are polyps, growths forming on the lining of the colon. You might also notice blood in your stool or a persistent change in your bowel habits, along with weight loss, fatigue or a painful tummy.
Exercise benefits your health in so many ways. As well as reducing the risk of bowel cancer, regular physical activity can improve your prognosis if you’ve already been diagnosed. People who exercised for as little as one hour per week were 50% less likely to develop polyps in their colon.
Scientists are still discovering exactly why exercise has such a protective effect against bowel cancer. However, a number of findings can shed light on its benefits.
Exercise can also provide routine and structure to your day. Even when you’re tired, exercise can lessen fatigue.
If you’re suffering, the last thing you might feel like is exercising, but remember all types of activity count, from walking the dog, to swimming, gardening, running or dancing. Find an exercise you enjoy, start slowly and build up gradually.
Although many lifestyle habits contribute to increased risk of colon cancer, such as too little fibre in the diet, eating processed food, smoking, obesity and alcohol, physical activity provides one piece of the healing jigsaw. Another sensible lifestyle habit includes eating plenty of colourful plant-based foods containing DNA-protective antioxidants to nurture the cells of your colon. Plant foods also provide fibre to feed your microbiome and reduce bowel transit time. Managing stress and limiting alcohol will benefit colon health, too.
Cancer is a complex disease with many contributing factors. Your therapist will take a detailed health and symptom history to establish the root causes of your ill health. A simple stool test can discover what’s happening in the community of microbes living in your bowel. Following this assessment, you’ll be provided with practical, personalised dietary, supplement and lifestyle recommendations to maximise the health of your colon. Contact us today to start your journey to better bowel health.
Are you concerned about the health of your bowel? Why not book a free 15 minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you.
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