Independent of genes: Drastically reduce the risk of colorectal cancer with the “rule of five


Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide. But it can be prevented. With these five measures, you can minimize your risk of developing the disease.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common tumor disease in men and the second most common in women in Germany. The probability of developing the disease depends on genetic and other factors. Most of these can be influenced.

“Among other things, dietary and lifestyle habits are responsible,” says Michael Hoffmeister of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), who, together with other scientists, conducted a study on 4,000 colorectal cancer patients and 3,000 healthy control subjects.

Colorectal cancer prevention with the “rule of five
In the investigation published in the specialized magazine Gastroenterology Hoffmeister showed that each humans can reduce its personal intestine cancer risk noticeably, by uniting as many as possible healthy life-style on itself. From this, a “rule of five” can be derived, which is made up of the following factors:

1-Smoking abstinence
2-Low alcohol consumption
3-Healthy diet
4-Much exercise
5-Normal body weight

Colorectal cancer prevention: Lifestyle has the greatest influence
In recent years, more than 50 gene variants have been discovered that slightly increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Nevertheless, the rule of five applies regardless of the familial risk of colorectal cancer. This means that anyone with close relatives, such as parents or siblings, who have already had colorectal cancer can, despite a slightly increased risk, reduce their probability of developing the disease with the help of a healthy lifestyle just as much as someone without a family history of the disease.

“The recommendation to pay attention to a healthy lifestyle thus applies to everyone, regardless of their genetic risk of colorectal cancer,” Hoffmeister says. The more of the healthy lifestyle factors the study participants combined, the lower their likelihood of developing colorectal cancer.

All factors of the “rule of five” have the same effect
Even compliance with individual factors of the Rule of Five had a positive effect on colorectal cancer prevention. All five factors seem to be equally important. Prudence Carr, first author of the study, describes this as follows: “It played a minor role whether it was not smoking, healthy diet or physical activity that was heeded. With all variants, study participants reduced their risk of colorectal cancer.”

Colorectal cancer: in the early stages, the “silent” disease is curable
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide. If the tumor disease is detected at an early stage, the chances of cure are very high.

However, colon cancer is also considered a “silent” disease. Especially in the early stages, there are no warning signs in most cases. Unlike other types of cancer, however, colorectal cancer develops from preliminary stages, the polyps. These are benign for a long time before they degenerate into cancer. It is estimated that this process takes about ten years – plenty of time to prevent the cancer.

Stool test and colonoscopy: methods for early detection
Early detection is therefore an important measure against cancer. With the help of screening examinations, precancerous lesions can be detected early and removed – even before the tumor develops.

As part of the statutory colorectal cancer screening, you can have your stool examined annually from the age of 50: A so-called immunological stool test detects even the smallest amounts of blood that are not visible to the naked eye.

Men over 50 and women over 55 are recommended to have a colonoscopy. This examination is more reliable than the stool test. The intestine is looked at from the inside with an endoscope. The examination is also called colonoscopy. If the result is unremarkable, it is sufficient to have the examination again after ten years at the earliest.


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