Tips for Colorectal Cancer Survivors

Tips for Colorectal Cancer Survivors

What is next for colorectal cancer survivors? In an effort to lower the chances of recurring cancer, a person’s diet must be high in fruits and vegetables and low in fats.

Colorectal cancer is not like other types of cancer wherein patients don’t even know that they have cancer in their bodies. With colon cancer, a patient will get advance warnings of the condition. With a regular preventive screening, the doctor can detect a precancerous polyp and recommend a colon-healthy diet.

When a polyp is detected, it’s best to adopt a diet that will hopefully stop the recurrence of cancer. Not much research is being conducted regarding patients who survived and then have recurring cancer. But the American Cancer Society advises cancer survivors to strictly adhere to the standard cancer prevention guidelines.

Basis of the Standard Cancer Prevention Guidelines

The guidelines issued by the American Cancer Society is based on the extensive analysis of data of cancer patients and their diet. These guidelines also describe the best practices for preventing cancer recurrence unless the individual has extraordinary health conditions.

These cancer prevention guidelines are not only for preventing the recurrence of colon cancer, but also for avoiding the appearance of cancer in other parts of the body. Most cancer survivors have a higher risk of metastasis or having cancer appear on other parts of the body. So it is important to address this overall cancer risk through a cancer-smart diet and appropriate medical regimen.

Dietary Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer Survivors

When it comes to diet, what you should eat is just as important as what you shouldn’t.

What is Helpful

Plant-based foods are most helpful for colorectal cancer prevention. Have five servings of color-rich fruits and vegetables per day. Women can have only one alcoholic drink each day and men can have two. Consume healthy fats in moderation; healthy fats refer to the fats from plants and fish.

What is Not Helpful

Recent research revealed that some dietary strategies appear not to benefit the prevention of recurring precancerous polyps at all. Three to four years after the appearance of the original polyp, taking antioxidant vitamins or fiber supplement does not have any protective effect on stopping new polyps from appearing. The same observation is true for modest dietary changes involving an increased intake of fruits and vegetables.

What May Be Helpful

Research has shown that calcium supplements could somehow help prevent polyp recurrence. However, taking high levels of this mineral is not recommended for men because it is linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer. What the experts advise is to consume only the recommended daily allowance of calcium and to get them from plant sources.


When a person is diagnosed with colorectal cancer, his survival rests primarily on his adherence to the recommended treatment regimen, which may include chemotherapy and colonoscopies. Nutritional counseling also plays an important role as colorectal cancer patients, who have certain parts of the colon removed by surgery, need a personalized food plan to ensure they get all the nutrients needed by the body.

Photo credits: Cancer Mortality in US Males by Mikael Haggstrom via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Categories: Health

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