Bowel cancer, also referred to as colon cancer, affected around 41,804 people in the UK in 2015 and it caused 16,384 deaths in the year 2016, statistics by Cancer Research UK revealed.
Bowel cancer begins in the colon or rectum part which is present in the large intestine. Lifestyle and old age are the main factors which make one prone to bowel cancer.
In this article, we will tell you about the symptoms, causes and treatment of bowel cancer, as well as the latest study conducted by a cohort of researchers at the Francis Crick Institute, London which found out about certain vegetables that release anti-cancerous chemicals.
Symptoms Of Bowel Cancer
The signs and symptoms of bowel cancer or colon cancer depend on where a tumour is located in the bowel and also whether its spread or metastasis took place in the body or not.
Some of the common symptoms of bowel cancer are:
- Blood in stool
- Change in bowel habit or going to the loo more often
- Loss of stool thickness
- Loss of weight
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the tummy and bloating
- People over 50 may suffer from vomiting or nausea
Causes Of Bowel Movement
The exact cause of bowel cancer remains unknown and people aged above 60 usually suffer the most from it. This condition is found to be common amongst people who are overweight or obese, hence maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to keep colon cancer at bay.
- Consuming a diet with low fibre and processed red meat in excess increase the risk of suffering from bowel cancer.
- Not working out regularly makes you more prone to bowel cancer.
- Not following a healthy lifestyle and smoking and drinking in excess increases the risk of this condition.
- Some bowel cancer cases can be linked with inherited genes as well.
Research Reveals Eating These Veggies Help In Reducing The Risk Of Bowel Cancer
A study carried out by a team of researchers at the Francis Crick Institute, London, found that anti-cancerous chemicals were released when cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, kale and broccoli were being digested.
Cruciferous vegetables are known to be good for gut health, the compounds these veggies contain can be utilized by the bacteria present in the gut which helps in improving the gut health.
The main focus of this study was to analyse how these veggies impacted the lining of the intestines. Mice and lab-grown miniature bowels were used to find out how exactly these vegetables affected out gut health.
Similar to our skin, the surface of the intestine gets regenerated too and the time period it takes to regenerate is around 4 to 5 days. This regeneration of the surface of the bowel needs to be controlled tightly else it would lead to gut inflammation or cancer.
Chewing cruciferous vegetables leads to the production of a vital chemical indole-3-carbinol, but the veggies shouldn't be soggy or overcooked. The chemicals released from these veggies travel through the digestive system and aid in changing the behaviour of the stem cells.
In this study, it was observed that mice who consumed a diet rich in indole-3-carbinol were protected from cancer despite having genes which increased their chances of getting the disease.
"This study in mice suggests that it's not just the fibre contained in vegetables like broccoli and cabbage that help reduce the risk of bowel cancer, but also molecules found in these vegetables too," said Prof Tim Key, an expert on diet and cancer from Cancer Research, UK.
"Further studies will help find out whether the molecules in these vegetables have the same effect in people, but in the meantime, there are already plenty of good reasons to eat more vegetables," Prof Key stated further.