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colorectal cancer

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Manage Inflammation to Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk

A healthy diet and weight lowers inflammation and reduces risk of colon cancer.

When a tissue is chronically inflamed it often stimulates pathways in the cells that increase cancer risk. Eating colorful foods that are aromatic, nutrient-dense and low in calories tend to reduce inflammation and help protect against colorectal cancer. Healthy eating also tends to promote a healthy weight. Stored fat in the belly may play a strong role in inflammation, increasing the risk of the same cancer.

PositiveTip; Tackle inflammation with a healthy diet and weight control, and have regular screenings.

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Processed Meats Classified as Cause of Cancer

Each 1.75 ounces (50 gm) of processed meat increases risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer released an evaluation of red and processed meat consumption that has created a small media frenzy. An international group of scientists, after a careful review of the accumulated data, has classified processed meat as carcinogenic to humans based on sufficient evidence, and red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans based on limited evidence. 

PositiveTip: The most wholesome diet continues to be largely plant-based without the use of processed meats.

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Teenage Obesity and Colorectal Cancer Risk

Obesity during teens may increase risk of colorectal cancer.

A study of almost 240,000 Swedish males, 16-20 years old were measured for height and weight. After 35 years of follow-up those in the upper overweight (BMI 27.5 to <30) or obese (BMI 30+) at the beginning were more than twice as likely to develop colorectal cancer as those who were normal weight.

PositiveTip: Establishing habits of regular physical activity and a wholesome diet early in life may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer later in life.

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Eat Vegetarian and Reduce Risk of Colon Cancer

Vegetarian diets are associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer.

During a 7 year follow-up of almost 80,000 adults, researchers found that compared to non-vegetarians, all vegetarian dietary patterns combined had significantly reduced risk for colorectal cancer (22% lower hazard ratio). Replacing red meat with vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes will most likely help lower the risk of cancer of the colon and rectum.

PositiveTip: Choose a balanced, healthy vegetarian diet to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer--and obesity, hypertension, diabetes and all-cause mortality!

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Red Meat and Colorectal Cancer Survival

Eating red and processed meats decreases the risk of colorectal cancer survival.

Evidence is convincing that consuming red and processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer. New research suggests that greater consumption before diagnosis is associated with a higher risk of death after diagnosis. Those who ate the most red and processed meats prior to and after diagnosis experienced 79% higher mortality compared to those who ate the least.

PositiveTip: Make sure your diet is composed of mostly plant-based foods for optimum health!

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Not All Dietary Fibers are Equal

Dietary fiber from whole grains lowers colorectal cancer risk.

A meta-analysis of 25 studies that involved almost 2 million people revealed that fiber from whole grains reduced the risk of colorectal cancer by 21% compared with fiber from fruits, vegetables, or legumes. Higher intakes showed greater risk reduction. Dietary fiber shortens stool transit times, increases stool bulk, and probably dilutes gut carcinogens, thereby lowering risk.

PositiveTip: Lower your risk of colorectal cancer by eating whole grains every day.

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No Alcohol Intake Level Safe

Even small amounts of alcohol raise the risk of cancer.

A ten year study of eight European countries on alcohol consumption and cancer has lead researchers to conclude that "there is no sensible limit below which the risk of cancer is decreased. ... Thus, alcohol consumption should not be recommended to prevent cardiovascular disease or all-cause mortality." 

Representatives from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, wrote: "From a standpoint of cancer risk, the message of this report could not be clearer. There is no level of alcohol that can be considered safe".

PositiveTip: Skip the alcohol and choose healthy non-alcoholic, low-calorie drinks.


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Simple Lifestyle Changes Reduce Colon Cancer

Colorectal cancer risk lowered by 5 simple lifestyle habits.

Danish researchers followed 55,000 middle-age, cancer-free Danes for an average of 10 years. Their analysis revealed that almost 25% of colorectal cancers could be prevented by following five simple lifestyle habits (not smoking; daily physical activity for at least 30 minutes; avoiding heavy drinking; eating a healthy diet; and waist-circumference control — i.e., less than 40 inches for men and less than 35 inches for women).

PositiveTip: A careful lifestyle can yield big benefits in the future, and the present!

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Colorectal Cancer and Family History

Colon cancer risk isn't really affected by family history unless the relative is first-degree.

Many diseases seem to run in families. Cancer of the colon (CRC) is no exception. Researchers have used the Utah Population Database to evaluate the risk posed to an individual by first, second, and third degree relatives with primary colon cancer. Risks were higher among first-degree relatives. However, second and third-degree relatives have CRC risk if there are no affected first-degree relatives.

PositiveTip: Following a healthy lifestyle of wholesome diet and regular physical activity may delay or prevent the onset of CRC--in spite of family history risks.

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Encouraging News on the Colonoscopy Front

Putting off having a colonoscopy? "Nicer" alternatives are being developed.

While certainly not our favorite screening procedure, colonoscopy remains the best method of detecting colorectal cancer early. A surprising number of people simply refuse this important screening test. Technology may be coming to their rescue (and ours also). Capsule endoscopy involves swallowing a large capsule with a camera at each end and the electronics to image the entire colon. Patients must prepare carefully before swallowing, then swallow the capsule which goes into "sleep mode" for the transit time to the colon, "wakes up" and for 10 hours images your colon! Is it a viable option yet?