A new study has found that your bowel cancer risk can be lowered by making a few simple changes to your lifestyle.
By adopting five key health behaviours in your daily routine, you can help to reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer, while also benefiting from improved health.
Researchers from the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke found that combining these five healthy lifestyle behaviours impacted on the risk of developing bowel cancer.
"These data provide additional incentive to individuals, medical professionals and public health authorities to invest in healthy lifestyle initiatives," said Lead author, Krasimira Aleksandrova.
He continued: "Each person can contribute a lot to avoid cancer, the more healthy lifestyle changes, the better."
Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in men and the third most common cancer in women worldwide, with 55% cases occurring in developed regions such as North America and Western Europe.
Previous studies have identified links between the cancer frequency rates and western lifestyles.
However, most research has focused on isolated lifestyle behaviors, such as eating red meat, while little is known about the combined impact of lifestyle factors beyond their individual effects.
The research published in the open access journal BMC Medicine analysed the data of 347,237 men and women from 10 countries.
Over the 12-year study period, 3,759 cases of bowel cancer were recorded.
So, what are the five changes to be made to your lifestyle?
For each of the five behaviours, study subjects were assigned one point for having the healthy factor and zero for not having the healthy factor. These points were then added together to generate a cumulative score for each participant.
Krasimira Aleksandrova, said: "Our data confirmed that with an increasing number of healthy lifestyle behaviours, the risk that a person will have of developing bowel cancer decreases."
The more healthy lifestyle factors that were adopted, the lower their risk of bowel cancer.
Compared to people who had followed up to one healthy lifestyle behaviour, those who practiced a combination of two, three, four and all the five healthy behaviors had a 13%, 21%, 34% and 37% lower risk of developing bowel cancer, respectively.
"Estimates based on our study populations suggest that up to 22% of the cases in men and 11% of the cases in women would have been prevented if all five of the healthy lifestyle behaviors had been followed," Aleksandrova said.
"Our results particularly demonstrate the potential for prevention in men who are at a higher risk of bowel cancer than women."