by Dr. James Meschino on 16 September 2019 in Diet, Cancer

How Improved Diet Prevents Colorectal Cancer?

Over many years, studies have shown that only 5-10% of colo-rectal cancer cases result from inherited, genetic mutations. Up to 70% of colo-rectal cancer appears to be preventable via improved dietary practices alone. The key dietary strategies linked to increased risk of colo-rectal cancer include:

Source: Journal – Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery, Nov., 2009

Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update (March 16, 2016)

Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in North America and most developed countries. Only a small percentage of cases of linked to inherited genetic mutations (5-10% of cases). Various studies have displayed  that an improved diet prevents colorectal cancer by 70%.

Diet and lifestyle continue to be the main factors causing this form of cancer

A recent review in the Journal Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery showed once again – certain dietary changes might reduce risk of colo-rectal cancer up to 70%

What do the researchers highlight in their studies?

Diets high in fat, especially animal fat, are a major risk factor for colorectal cancer

Animal fat changes the bacterial composition of the large bowel – the gut flora These unhealthy gut bacteria metabolize bile salts (secreted at each meal) into cancer-causing agents known to cause colon cancer.

In particular, High red meat consumption is linked to colon cancer risk The high level of heme iron in red meat may further increase risk , as excess iron generates cancer –causing free radicals in the colon.

Also cooking these meats at high temperatures produces heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – shown to cause cancerous mutations.

Other studies suggest - people who eat a diet low in fruits and vegetables may have a higher risk of colorectal cancer. As well, higher dietary fiber linked to decreased risk of colo-rectal cancer

Fiber – attracts water, bulks up fecal matter – moves it through faster. Which dilutes carcinogens and speeds removal of any cancer-causing agents in the bowel.

Especially true for (beans, peas, whole grains).

Can other factors help to reduce the risk of Cancer ?

Regular physical exercise –reduces risk:

Speeds movement through the bowel, and lowers insulin levels

Reducing body weight if you’re overweight – higher insulin and estrogen levels (males and females)

Cigarette smoking – 12% of colo-rectal cancer attributable to smoking Carcinogens in tobacco increase cancer growth in the colon and rectum.

Alcohol - regular consumption of alcohol linked to colo-rectal cancer. Some studies show may double risk of colon cancer – 2 drinks per day.

In total – some studies suggest that up to 90% of colon cancer is preventable (diet, exercise, not smoking, ideal weight and low or no alcohol consumption). Of course after 50 you need to get screened for colon cancer.

The good news is that it usually takes 5-10 yrs for early stage polyps to become malignant. So, if they see anything suspicious, they can remove it before and real trouble gets started.

Preventing colo-rectal cancer – the second leading cause of cancer death, is one more really important reason to really get on board and stay track with a wellness lifestyle.

So good luck with your wellness goals and I’ll see you next time.


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!

Dr. James Meschino

About the Author

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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