Symptoms and causes of colorectal cancer

Colorectal Cancer - a few facts

Every year over 33,000 men and women are diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in the UK and the third most common cancer affecting both men and women.

The exact cause remains "officially" unknown but there are certain factors that make people more at risk, such as age, family history and a tendency to inflammatory bowel disease or polyps. There is also increasing evidence that a diet high in fat and low in vegetables combined with a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk.

Problems of the colon and rectum are very common but most symptoms do not turn out to be cancer. Increasingly, research points to disturbance in the gut flora, with microbial, yeast and even parasitic infections and a loss of protective beneficial bacteria. Some web sites recommend a daily multi-strain probiotic supplement for this reason. 

If any of the following symptoms persist for more than a few weeks, talk to your GP:

Recent persistent changes of bowel habit

Rectal bleeding without straining, pain, soreness, swelling, or itching

Rectal bleeding if you are over 55 - piles may be masking more serious problems

Unexplained anaemia and/or severe gut pain


You don’t have to be old to develop bowel cancer. For example, pregnant women seem to have a higher incidence.

Ways To Help Yourself

Get to know your bowel pattern so that you know what is normal for you and can recognise any changes. Avoid constipation. Increase your fibre intake - flaxseed and whole foods are good places to start 

Exercise - light daily exercise for 20 minutes. Drink lots of water

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Go on an anti-yeast diet. Take garlic, Pau D’arco, curcumin, caprylic acid and multi-strain probiotics. Avoid all common glucose sugar, refined foods and alcohol.

Lower your fat intake - diets low in transfats, and saturated fats like animal and dairy fats are known to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer

Take a daily fish oil, or krill oil. Plus vitamin D, or go in the sun for half an hour every day.

Do not smoke. It is one of the prime causes 

Watch your weight. Overweight people have an increased risk of developing this kind of cancer

Don’t be embarrassed about telling your doctor about your bowel movements. There are very good screening tests that can prevent problems turning in to cancer. Click this link for more.

Links to recommended reading:

Article 1 - Living Proof: Judy Place
Beating Bowel Cancer is one woman’s story. Plus notes from Colon Cancer Concern about avoidance (Icon - September 2002).

Article 2 - An extract from "Everything You Need To Know To Help You Beat Cancer" Q50 - "Tell me more about colon cancer", as much of the received wisdom from official bodies is trumped by other research sources.

You may like to read our review on Omega-3 and fish oils and their benefits.

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