• Lifestyle Changes to Manage Colorectal Cancer

    In addition to medical treatments, the following lifestyle changes are important for colorectal cancer treatment.

    Eat a Healthy Diet

    When you are being treated for colorectal cancer, you may well have to modify your diet. If you are receiving chemotherapy and having nausea and diarrhea, you may need to avoid spicy, high-fat and high-fiber foods that aggravate your symptoms. If you have undergone colostomy, you may find that you feel better and are better able to manage your stoma by managing the foods you eat. You may, for a period, require nutritional supplementation to help maintain you weight and health. Talk to your doctor and a dietician about your particular needs. Keep in mind, your dietary needs may change as treatment progresses.

    Exercise Regularly

    Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Even moderate exercise (30 minutes per day) is beneficial.
    You may continue to exercise during your treatment as your physical condition allows. Ask your physician before undertaking any new or particularly strenuous exercise program.

    Avoid Obesity

    Obesity has been found to increase the risk of colorectal cancer, particularly when the weight is distributed in the waist, rather than on hips and thighs. Doctors recommend losing excess weight to reduce colorectal cancer risk.

    Stop Smoking

    To reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, stop smoking. Smokers are 30%-40% more likely to die of colorectal cancer than nonsmokers. Even if you have already been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, stopping smoking will aid your recover and reduce your risk for other health complications.

    Use Alcohol in Moderation

    Regular use of alcohol among smokers and people with high-fat diets appears to increase the risk of colorectal cancer. However, there does not seem to be an increased risk among people who drink alcohol, but eat diets high in fiber. During the time you are being treated with chemotherapy, it is is wise to avoid alcohol altogether.


    National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/ .

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