The exact causes of bowel cancer have not yet been established, with the exception of a few which are caused by a gene mutation. However, bowel cancer has many risk factors. Some of them can be controlled, others can not be influenced. Here are a few factors that discuss the causes of cancer of the intestine.
Controlled risk factors
Risk factors are circumstances, condition of the body, medical history and other instances that can increase the risk of developing bowel cancer. They can be both controlled and uncontrolled. Some causes of bowel cancer can be prevented, that's why they are called controlled factors.
Being overweight or obese. Obesity can definitely influence, if not increase the risk of bowel cancer. This risk factor is considered to be the most significant. The main factor that increases the risk is not the weight of a person and not the body mass index, but the waist circumference. It is known that it is abdominal obesity that provokes bowel cancer. It is more common in men than in women. Men have a larger codependence of cancer and the progressed form of obesity.
Physical activity. It has been found that low physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle may cause the onset of bowel cancer. Regular physical training, walking or physical labor reduces the risk of developing the oncology.
Food. All food passes through the intestines. It is is not surprising that some dietary risk factors influence the disease. However, good news is that they can also be controlled.
The following can cause bowel cancer:
- High amount of red meat in one’s diet
- Char grilled cooking of meat - heating meat to very high temperatures provokes the formation of carcinogenic substances
- Low consumption of fruits and vegetables
- Frequent eating of smoked food
Bad habits. Another cause of bowel cancer is smoking and alcohol. Moreover, alcohol poses a greater risk.
Night shift. People who work at night suffer from bowel cancer more often than average population. Scientists attribute this to a change in the level of the hormone melatonin in the blood. However, these are only assumptions. The exact causes of this phenomenon are not established - only a statistical regularity is confirmed.
Uncontrolled risk factors
Unfortunately, some of the causes of bowel cancer can not be controlled.
Uncontrolled risk factors include:
- Polyps. Polyps can become the cause of bowel cancer. They are adenomatous outgrowths of the mucosa and are considered to be a precancerous condition. The larger the size of the polyps, the higher the risk of epithelial dysplasia and malignant degeneration.
- Bowel cancer. If a person has already suffered from this disease, the probability of its recurrence is significantly higher than the average population. This is not a relapse. We are talking about the risk of a new bowel cancer - a tumor can develop in another area of the intestine and even have a different histological type (consist of other cells).
- Inflammatory bowel disease. Nonspecific ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease increase the risk of oncology. We need to explain why bowel cancer can cause inflammatory processes. Chronically occurring pathologies cause epithelial dysplasia. This means that the epithelium has already been changed, although it has not become cancer yet. But the risk that an epithelium will turn into a tumor is much higher than that it will originate in healthy epithelium.
- Family history. Heredity is a common reason why bowel cancer develops. It has been established that 20% of people with bowel cancer have a family history of this disease. That is, they have or had had relatives in the past who also suffered from intestinal cancer.
- Hereditary forms of cancer. 5-10% of all bowel cancer cases are hereditary. They are transmitted through mutations of genes. The most common cause is Lynch syndrome. Among all hereditary forms of bowel cancer, it is responsible for 2-4% of all cases of this disease. It is caused by a congenital defect in the MLH1 or MSH2 genes, which are responsible for the repair of damaged DNA cells. In people with this syndrome, the risk of developing bowel cancer reaches 80%.
- Ethnic factor. Statistics show that people of African descent have the greatest risk of developing disease, regardless of the region of their residence. The risk is also high for Eastern Europeans.
- Diabetes mellitus type 2. This factor is often combined with low physical activity and obesity, but it can become a sole cause. Even people without excess weight, but who are suffering from type 2 diabetes, have an increased risk of developing bowel cancer. Moreover, this pathology has a more severe form among this target group.
- Iatrogenic causes. It is known that treatment for other cancers increases the risk of bowel oncology.
What age can bowel cancer appear?
The age of a person is one of the uncontrolled risk factors of the disease. It is impossible to say for sure what age bowel cancer can appear. It can develop in any person. However, a sharp increase in the probability of developing this oncology has been detected to be after 50 years.
The age when bowel cancer can appear may be even lower in case of a family history. It has been established that if a person has first-lineage relatives (brothers and sisters, parents) who have developed bowel cancer at a young age (up to 45 years), this increases the risk of this oncology. It can develop much earlier than 50 years.
How to prevent bowel cancer?
There are no guaranteed ways to prevent bowel cancer. However, there are preventive measures.
Prevention of bowel cancer includes two main areas:
1. Exclusion of controlled risk factors for the disease. By knowing what can cause bowel cancer, you can prevent it.
It is sufficient to exclude risk factors that can be controlled, namely:
- Quit smoking
- Not drink too much alcohol
- Reduce body weight to normal level
- Lead a physically active lifestyle
- Limit consumption of red meat, smoked foods, strongly roasted or char grilled food
- Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables
- Work during the day, not night
All these measures will reduce the probability of bowel cancer by several times, if you exclude absolutely all factors.
2. Screening of intestinal cancer. This includes a comprehensive examination, conducted without any symptoms or other indications and done only for a preventive purpose. Such screening promotes early detection of precancerous conditions or early stages of cancer. Screening surveys are recommended for people 50 years and older. They should be conducted annually.
Diagnosis and treatment in Germany
In Germany, there are many good clinics where doctors specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer. You can go to Germany to be examined and, if necessary, receive adequate treatment. Early stages enable a complete cure of the disease.
Booking Health will help with the organization of treatment. We will:
- Select a clinic
- Reduce waiting time for consultation with a specialist
- Issue the necessary documents
- Transport you to Germany, and then - to the clinic
We will provide the following services: visa processing, ticket booking, translation of documentation, interpretation, transfer from the airport to the clinic and back. With us you can save up to 70% of the cost of the treatment program.
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova