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Gastrointestinal cancers and 8 tips to avoid them

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June 17, 2020 0 1 minute, 58 seconds read
Dr. Dinesh Singhal
Head and Senior Consultant - Surgical Gastroenterology

Gastrointestinal cancers are the most common cancers worldwide. For example, one in every twenty individual will develop colon cancer.

Common GI cancers include cancers of the oesophagus, stomach, colon, gall bladder, bile duct, pancreas and liver. Their treatment depends on the stage in which they are found. If detected early and before they have spread in the body, they can potentially be cured by surgery.

However, the gastrointestinal system is encased in a protective abdominal wall and oesophagus is seated deep inside the chest. Because of their location, the symptoms develop late in the course of the disease and when they do develop they are vague and nonspecific. Hence diagnosing these cancers is difficult in early stages and best way to save yourself is to avoid them altogether. 

8 tips to lower your risk of developing gastrointestinal cancers:

Eat a healthy diet: Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Consume whole grains and beans, while avoiding processed food. Limit your sugar and salt intake. Eat a moderate amount of fats and oils. 

Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight is associated with many GI cancers including colon, pancreas and liver cancer. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight goes a long way in the prevention of cancer. 

Regularly exercise: Regular exercise lowers the risk of various cancers including colorectal, oesophagal, liver and stomach. It does so by reducing body weight, modulating hormonal levels and boosting your immune system. 

Avoid tobacco: Tobacco consumptions in any form has been one of the major causes of cancer worldwide. Quitting tobacco is one of the best things you can do to reduce your cancer risk. 

Limit alcohol: Alcohol is known to cause liver, oesophagal and colorectal cancer. Limit your alcohol intake to reduce your chances of getting these cancers.

Get vaccinated: Hepatitis B is the major cause of liver cancer. Hepatitis B vaccination protects you from liver cancer. 

Sleep long enough: In today's smartphone-driven world, sleep deprivation is rampant. A good night’s sleep goes a long way in maintaining a healthy life. 

Get screened for cancer: Screening tests help us in detecting cancers in apparently healthy individuals. For example, colon cancer screening is done in people who are more than 45 years and those with a family history of colorectal cancer. Getting yourself screened is one of the important things you can do for your health.

Be alert and stay healthy. Happy living!

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