In 2014 there were 41,265 cases of bowel cancer
54% of bowel cancer cases were linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors, these were preventable
15,903 of the sufferers died
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer
Different lifestyle choices such as red and processed meat consumption (21%), overweight and obesity (13%), alcohol (12%), smoking (8%) and ionising radiation (2%).
Increased 14% since 1970
An estimated 11% of bowel cancer cases in the UK are linked to alcohol consumption.
Bowel cancer risk is 21% higher in people who drink around 1.5-6 UK alcohol units per day, compared with non-/occasional drinker
Bowel cancer risk is 52% higher in those who consume around 6 units or more per day, compared with non-/occasional drinkers.
When a person drinks alcohol, the body converts the alcohol into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde.
It can cause cancer by damaging DNA and stopping our cells from repairing this damage
Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes have been shown to cause DNA damage.
Smokers are also less able to handle toxic chemicals than those with healthy lungs and blood. Chemicals in cigarette smoke make it harder for smokers to neutralise or remove toxins, and can make their immune systems less effective too.
Ionising radiation can cause changes in the chemical balance of cells. In addition, by damaging the genetic material (DNA) contained in all cells of the body, ionising radiation can cause harmful genetic mutations that can be passed on to future generation
Haemoglobin from the red meat is broken down in our gut to form a family of chemicals called N-nitroso compounds. These have been found to damage the cells that line the bowel, so other cells in the bowel lining have to replicate more in order to heal. And it’s this ‘extra’ replication that can increase the chance of errors developing in the cells’ DNA – the first step on the road to cancer.
Body fatness effects the way cells work.
How to reduce the risk of bowel cancer?