Stress, irregular meal schedules could cause colon cancer

A study from Taiwan suggests that people who are under high levels of work stress and do not have consistent meal schedules are at greater risk of suffering colon cancer.

The study specifically singles out office workers as being most susceptible to the disease, due to the high-pressure work environment and the fact that work schedules can often interfere with one’s meals. According to Dr. Chang Chia-lun of Taipei Municipal Wanfang Hospital, Eating salty and greasy foods, eating red meat, and eating any kind of food too quickly were also cited as potential risk factors that could cause office workers to develop colon polyps.

Chang was also quoted as saying that people, especially office workers, should seek medical assistance regarding colon polyps, as these growths may potentially lead to colon cancer in about ten to fifteen years. Removing the polyps as early as possible, he added, could reduce the risk of developing the condition several years down the line.

Colon cancer tends to strike people aged 50 and above, as about 3,000 out of every 100,000 people from the age group suffer from the condition. Chang said that this may be because many people in their 30s and 40s are so occupied with work, and tend to ignore colon polyps that may eventually become malignant, or cancerous. He also warned that the disease has become more common among younger people, and that the incidence of colon polyps has increased among office workers aged 30 to 59.

Chang cited a recent survey polling about 1,410 office workers, where 7.23 percent of these workers, all in the 30-59 age group, said they have colon polyps. This survey suggested that there may be over 800,000 office workers in all of Taiwan who have these growths.

In order to avoid the risk of colon polyps and colon cancer, Chang recommended that people eat more fruit and vegetables, fiber-rich foods, and drink yogurt, while having less red meat. Those aged below 50, in addition, should get regular check-ups with their doctor, and exercise at least thrice a week.