Related News

Home » Feature

When a lifestyle change can help keep cancer at bay

COLORECTAL cancer has soared from sixth place to the second in terms of cancer incidence in China. But it is a type of cancer that a healthy lifestyle can help prevent. Tan Weiyun investigates

The incidence of colorectal cancer (bowel cancer) in China is up to 130,000 cases per year and is still growing by 4 percent annually, according to a report released by the Shanghai Cancer Hospital.

"Colorectal cancer has soared from sixth place to the second in terms of cancer incidence," says Cai Sanjun, a professor at the cancer hospital.

The latest data indicates that people below 40 years old account for about 20 percent of the colorectal cancer patients.

In Shanghai alone, the prevalence of colorectal cancer for men is 48 in 100,000 and for women 45 in 100,000. However, 30 years ago in 1979, the figure was only 20 in 100,000.

The new incidence, which is almost as high as that in Western countries, makes China a high-risk region for this cancer. Colorectal cancer represents an increasing threat to public health in China.

"One of the main factors of the increasing number is that Chinese people's lifestyle is changing dramatically," the professor says. "And many bad habits such as irregular meal times, lack of physical exercise, and high-fat diets are reasons."

Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and you can reduce the risks of getting colorectal cancer on your own if you foster a healthy lifestyle, Cai says.

Many people, especially busy office workers, don't eat until they feel hungry, which is really harmful to body.

Food stays in the stomach for only four to five hours and when we feel hungry, the stomach has already been empty for a long time. The gastric mucosa then will be "digested" by the gastric juice, which can cause gastritis and peptic ulcers as well as weakening the body's ability to resist disease.

A lot of people relieve themselves only when they feel it is "urgent" and some even suppress the desire, which is also a bad habit.

Faeces and urine can cause constipation or over-expand the bladder if they stay too long in the body. As well, the toxins in the excrement will be re-absorbed by the body. Regular discharging can reduce the risk of constipation, hemorrhoids and colon cancer.

"Eating a low-fat diet, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy body weight are golden rules for preventing cancers and other chronic diseases," the professor says. "Excessive alcohol has also been associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer."

Cai also suggests people over 45 years old undergo screening tests such as digital rectal examinations, tests for blood in the stool and colonoscopies every five years.

If colorectal cancer does develop, it can be found in the earliest stages possible, maximizing the chance for cure.

"Significant progress has been made during the past decade in the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer," Cai says.

More and more is known about the biological characteristics of colorectal cancer and genetic mechanisms related to tumorigenesis. Therefore, the cancer can be discovered earlier, and a more complete treatment system can be established with molecular genetic surveillance.

Surgical techniques have been improved and the development of high-performance therapeutic drugs continuously has upgraded colorectal cancer therapeutic regimens.

Therapeutic regimens involving Eloxatin have treated more than 40,000 people with non-metastatic colorectal cancer over the past 10 years.

"The patients' life span was prolonged and their quality of life improved," the professor says. "But what's most important is that prevention is the key and that means keep to a healthy lifestyle."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend