Causes And Risk Factors For Rectal Cancer: What Foods To Eat?

Question: My father has been diagnosed with cancer of the rectum. He is undergoing chemotherapy. Do you have any suggestions regarding home remedies to improve his condition?

Answer: Rectum is the end part of large intestine. Cancer developing in this area is called rectal cancer. Rectum is the last 8 to 10 inches of large intestine. The fecal matter is expelled out of the body from the rectum. Rectal cancer occurs due to the uncontrolled growth and proliferation of the cells of the rectum.

In the beginning stage there is a small soft tissue growth, often benign (non cancerous) it is called polyp.

Most polyps are benign, but some of them may become malignant after passage of time. Diet and lifestyle has great impact in development of rectal cancer. Eating healthy diet and change in lifestyle can remarkably reduce the risk of development of rectal cancer.

Causes And Risk Factors For Cancer Of Rectum

Rectal cancer is most common in elderly age group. People above the age of 60 are at greater risk of suffering from rectal cancer. Though the cause for development of rectal cancer still remains obscure, certain risk factors are suspected for its development.

These risk factors include:

  • Diet: Studies have found that diet consisting excessive amount of fat may be correlated in development of rectum cancer. Researchers suspect the carcinogens that are formed after fat metabolism to be the culprit. People who are completely on vegetarian diet are comparatively found at lesser risk of rectal cancer. Diet consisting red meat and processed meat is blamed by and large as one of the triggering factors for its development.
  • Polyps: Polyps are basically benign growths. Rectal polyps develop from the lining of rectal mucus membrane. However, these polyps are blamed to get converted into cancerous growths if they are present for a prolonged period of time. Therefore it is best to remove rectal polyp as early as it is detected.
  • Lifestyle: Cancer of colon and rectum is seen more in people who are obese and do not exercise. It is also observed in people who eat less fiber in their diet. Those smoking cigarette for very long period and alcoholics are also at risk of suffering from colorectal cancer.
  • Chronic ulcerative colitis: It is an inflammatory bowel disease. People suffering from ulcerative colitis for long duration are at greater risk of developing rectal cancer.
  • Family history: A person may be at a risk of developing colorectal cancer if there is strong history of colorectal cancer in his family. Research suggests that a person is three times more susceptible to develop rectal cancer if someone in his family is suffering from rectal cancer.
  • Chronic and longstanding constipation can also be one of the causes for rectal cancer.

What Foods To Eat For Rectal Cancer?

  • Foods that are rich sources of vitamin A have a potent effect on cancer, and have a beneficial effect even in severe cases. Increase the intake of tomatoes, carrots, squashes, melons, capsicum, green leafy vegetables, mangoes, etc. These foods are packed with powerful anti-oxidants that help to prevent progression of the disease.
  • Broccolis, cabbage, capsicum, kale, cauliflower, are vegetables that contain lots of phytochemicals that fight cancer. Consume at least 1 kilogram of these vegetables per week.
  • Pectin found in all fruits is recommended strongly for the treatment of rectal cancer. It reduces the risk of the cancer from spreading and lowers the rate of cell multiplication.
  • Step up the intake of proteins. Protein is important for people who are taking chemotherapy, and it helps to promote recovery. Proteins boost the immune system, prevent infections and nourish the lining of gastric system.
  • People who are on to chemotherapy ought to drink large quantities of water. Water helps to detoxify the drugs from the body. If the body is not well hydrated, it would contribute to further discomfort.