Doctor shares 5 tips to ‘make a real difference’ to your cancer risk

Bowel cancer: Dr Philippa Kaye lists the symptoms

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Speaking exclusively to, Dr Robin Clark shares five top tips that “make a real difference” to a person’s risk of developing the deadly disease. “There are some simple lifestyle changes that people can adapt which will make a real difference,” he said. Two examples include “increasing [your] intake of fruit and vegetables”, said Dr Robin.

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) echoed Dr Robin’s recommendation, as “vegetables and fruits can protect against cancers of the mouth, throat, and digestive tract”.

The WCRF explained: “Vegetables and fruit provide your body with vitamins, minerals and other substances known as phytochemicals.”

Consequently, these goodies are thought to “protect cells in the body from damage that may lead to cancer”.

“Different types of vegetables and fruit contain different phytochemicals, so it is best to eat a variety every day,” the organisation notes.

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Dr Robin also suggested that people would benefit from increasing their intake of “high-fibre food”.

Cancer Research also recognise that “having a healthy balanced diet high in wholegrains and fibre can help reduce your risk of bowel cancer”.

Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that can be found in plant-based foods, such as wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and pulses, such as beans and lentils.

Eating fibre-rich wholegrains “can help to reduce your risk of cancer”, which can be found in:

  • Wholegrain varieties of bread, pasta, and rice
  • Shredded whole wheat and bran cereals, or porridge oats
  • The skin on vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots
  • Nuts and seeds.

Moving away from food and focusing on fluid intake, Dr Robin cautions against alcohol consumption.

The NHS confirms there is no safe limit to drinking alcohol, but low-risk drinking is considered to be under 14 units weekly in the UK.

In addition to “minimising alcohol consumption”, Dr Robin advises people to maintain a “healthy weight”.

The NHS offer a free body mass index (BMI) calculator, which requires your height and weight measurements, which can be a rough guide as to whether you’re a healthy weight.

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Another useful tool to determine if you are a healthy weight is to measure your waist.

In order to do so, the NHS says:

  1. Find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips.
  2. Wrap a tape measure around your waist midway between these points.
  3. Breathe out naturally before taking the measurement.

Regardless of your height or BMI, you should try to lose weight if your waist is:

  • 94cm (37ins) or more for men
  • 80cm (31.5ins) or more for women.

Adhering to Dr Robin’s five tips will “reduce the risk of developing problems later down the line”.

Dr Robin’s five tips:

  1. Eat fruits
  2. Eat vegetables
  3. Eat fibre-rich foods
  4. Minimise alcohol consumption
  5. Maintain a healthy weight.

Dr Robin said: “Thinking or talking about toilet habits might make you feel uncomfortable, but ultimately being in tune with your bowels could save your life.

“If anything doesn’t look or feel right, or you’ve noticed an unexplained change of some sort, it’s crucial that you seek medical help immediately, no matter what your age.

“When caught early, 98 percent of people with bowel cancer will survive for a year or more, compared to almost half the number when the disease is diagnosed at the latest stage.

“That’s why it’s also important to attend cancer screening invitations.”

Dr Robin Clark is the Medical Director for Bupa Insurance.

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