Keep Your Intestines Happy and Cancer-Free with Mediterranean Diet
Colon cancer is one of the most common cancer both in the world and our country. Scientific studies have shown that Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, olive oil, and nuts, significantly reduces cancer and vascular occlusion related deaths. Liv Hospital General Surgery Specialist Prof. Dr.
Hakan Yanar explained prevention, screening and treatment methods of colon cancer and the importance of nutrition.
What are the causes of colon cancer? Who are at risk?More than 90% of colon cancers are caused by previously developed polyps. While the incidence of polyps is rare before the age 50, cancer rates increase thereafter due to higher polyp incidence. Nutritional habits that are rich in fat and low in fibers, colon cancer history in immediate family, inflammatory intestinal diseases like ulcerative colitis and Chron’s disease lead to increased colon cancer risk.
Is colon cancer dangerous?Early diagnosis is very important in colon cancer, which is an asymptomatic and slow-progression cancer. This type of cancer is especially prevalent in people older than 50 and it can be treated with early diagnosis. Colon cancer is second or third most frequent cancer type in the world.
What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
- Palpable mass
- Rectal bleeding
- Blood in the stool
- Decreased stool diameter
- Changed defecation routine
- Inability to relief the urge to defecate
- Abdominal pain for more than 15 days
How to diagnose early?Although occult blood in stool and immunohistochemical tests can be used for colorectal cancer screening, the most effective method is colonoscopy. The goal must be the removal of polyps, before they develop into cancerous tissues, during colonoscopy. Therefore, first colonoscopy screening must be performed at the age of 50 for people without colon cancer history in their family and, if the results are normal, it must be repeated every ten years. And for people with colon cancer in their family, first colonoscopy must be performed 10 years before the cancer onset age of the affected family member.
What is the treatment of colon cancer?Standard treatment method is surgery. However, the removal of some healthy colon tissue and surrounding lymph nodes together with the tumors is of crucial importance. The surgical procedure affects long-term survival, relapse of the tumor or metastasis; therefore it must be performed by experienced surgeons. Today, these surgeries are performed with high success rates by using laparoscopy and robotic surgery methods, without any incision on the abdomen. Less post-operative pain, shorter hospital stay and very little scar around the surgical site are among the advantages of laparoscopic and robotic surgeries. In case of tumors close to the anus, colostomy (attaching the colon to the outer wall of the belly) can be prevented with chemotherapy and radiotherapy methods to be applied prior to the operation.
Follow the Recommendations
- Have regular screening tests.
- Consult your doctor in case of long-term constipation and rectal bleeding complaints
- Do moderate intensity exercises for 4-5 days a week instead of an inactive life.
- Apply a nutritional schedule that is rich in fibers, low in fats with balanced protein.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol.
- Maintain your ideal weight.
- Scientific studies have shown that Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, olive oil, and nuts, significantly reduces cancer and vascular occlusion related deaths.