Quick Guide to GI Cancer Prevention

Most digestive cancer are not common. Cancers of the stomach, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder are frequently diagnosed in individuals with a family history. Colorectal and esophageal cancers, however, are closely linked to lifestyle choice and age. Both colorectal and esophageal cancers are highly preventable and/or treatable when diagnosed early.

How to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

Your chances of developing any type of cancer can be separated into two groups: things you can’t control (aka genetic risk factors) and things you can control (aka modifiable risk factors).

This second group is made up of lifestyle choices, your diet, environment, etc., which can affect your risk of cancer. Below are some of the best practices to decrease your cancer risk:

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

A diet full of fruits and vegetables will help to combat cancer. Fruits, veggies, and whole grains contain fiber, which has been proven to reduce your colorectal cancer risk. These foods also have antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage that can lead to cancer.

Stop smoking

Smoking increases your risk of many types of cancers, including stomach, pancreatic, liver, kidney, and esophageal cancers. If you smoke, quit immediately!

Exercise regularly

Physically active people have a reduced risk of certain cancers, specifically colorectal cancer.

Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity is linked to numerous cancer types, so a healthy weight is your best tool to prevent cancer. Overweight individuals are more likely to suffer from acid reflux, which raises esophageal cancer risk. Belly fat is also connected to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer (particularly among women), and obesity is a risk factor for colorectal cancer.

Drink alcohol in moderate amounts

Alcohol is associated with multiple digestive cancers, including esophageal, colorectal, and liver cancers. Restrict alcohol intake to 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.

The earlier cancers are found, the better your prognosis. This is especially true with colorectal cancer. March is Colon Cancer Awareness month—a reminder that if you are at risk of colorectal cancer (have a family history, are experiencing symptoms, or over age 45), it’s time to get screened. Contact San Antonio Gastroenterology Endoscopy Centers to schedule your colorectal cancer screening.