What causes colon cancer? Most experts believe that diet and lifestyle are the major causes.
In the latest available (Feb 2006) stats from the World Health Organization, colorectal cancer or rectal cancer is ranked as the third most common form of cancer. Colorectal cancer causes 655,000 deaths each year. And despite all the research, it sometimes feels as if we aren't that much closer to preventing it even though we have a much clearer idea on what causes colon cancer than our ancestors did.
Everything about our modern lifestyle - stress, smoking, obesity, sedentary living - increases our risk of various cancers.
The gastrointestinal tract functions like an internal skin, but it has about 150 times more surface area than your outside skin does. Little wonder then that what we put through it might be a major cause of colon cancer.
Your gastrointestinal tract contains the largest number of immune cells of your whole body - approximately 60% of your entire immune system - so that good bacteria can really help the proper functioning of this vital organ. When it comes to cancers that are not caused through diet then a probiotic such as Iflora Probiotic Capsules can help.
Experts rate obesity, the eating of red and processed meats and excessive alcohol intake as "probable" factors for increased risk of colon rectal cancer1.
The consumption of animal fat and food with a high glycaemic load are rated (upon the evidence so far) as "possible" causes1.
Eating red meat gave a 12-17% increased risk of colorectal cancer for each daily increase of 100 g red meat and the risk increased more as a person ate more meat1.
And drinking more than three drinks a day gave a 41% increase of causing colon cancer1.
So if we're looking at what causes colon cancer we have some pretty clear answers there. It makes sense. If any cancer is to be linked to diet, this is the one. Food passes through our gastrointestinal tract and is in intimate contact with it for 48-72 hours, molecules are broken down and rebuilt, and many chemical reactions take place.
We've moved a very long way from what our ancestors ate - in fact, we've moved a very long way from what even our grandparents ate. And we're paying the price for that.
We used to eat foods that were teaming with both good and bad bacteria. This built a healthy immune system. Some of these good bacteria made vitamins that we could use. Now we eat food that has had all life radiated out of it. Many people are suffering digestive problems because of the lack of probiotics and lactic acid bacteria in our foods.
Most of us have a fairly good idea as to whether our eating habits are healthy or not. But we often go against what we instinctively know to be best. Experts believe that up to 75% of colorectal cancer is associated with diet.2 It seems fairly obvious that what we eat must impact on something like colon cancer. When considering what causes colon cancer the impact of your diet on colon cancer can not be ignored.
I provide links to a series of pictures of colon cancer which were taken by a medical pathologist. These are not pleasant so please don't view them unless you're quite sure that is what you want. We all have our own way of coping with things and for some people it is important to be able to visualize what is happening.
Image links courtesy of the "path guy" - Ed Friedlander, M.D., Pathologist.
1.Gonzalex CA. Nutrition and cancer: the current epidemiological evidence. British Journal Nutrition 96, Suppl 1: S42-S45.
2. Rafter J. Probiotics and Colon cancer. Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology. vol 17, issue 5, pp849-859 Oct 2003
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