Colorectal Cancer: Foods to Fight


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — According to the American Cancer Society, there will be about 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer this year alone and more than 50,000 deaths. While you can’t completely eliminate your risk for getting cancer, there are some things you can do to lower your risk. Ivanhoe has details on how you can eat your way to a healthy colon.

You are what you eat, especially when it comes to colorectal cancer. While sugary beverages and red meat can increase your risk for colorectal cancer, there are some foods and spices that can help prevent it.

“In some instances, they function even better than some of the anti-cancer drugs we are using right now. They’re much more safer, they’re much more inexpensive and they’re a lot more potent than some of the drugs we use for treating cancer patients,” informed Ajay Goel, PhD, Director of Center for Gastrointestinal Research Cancer Prevention at Baylor Scott & White Health.

One of them is turmeric, which contains the anti-inflammatory compound curcumin. Curcumin has been found to suppress cancer cell growth. Also, new research from Texas A&M University reports that eating spinach can reduce colon cancer risk by 50 percent. Other foods that can prevent colon cancer include fruits such as apples, bananas, blueberries, and raspberries; also nuts such as almonds, cashews, and macadamia nuts; whole grains; beans; legumes and fish. A study from Vanderbilt University found women who eat three servings of fish per week reduced their risk of developing colon polyps and colorectal cancer by 33 percent.

“We should consider taking some of these things so that we can possibly prevent, we can reduce inflammation, we can prevent a lot of disease,” continued Dr. Goel.

Even though eating healthier may prevent cancer risk, the best way to prevent cancer is to get screened early. Some people do not experience symptoms of colorectal cancer until the cancer is at a later stage. Doctors recommend getting a colonoscopy starting at age 45.

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.


BACKGROUND: Most colorectal cancers start as a growth on the inner lining of the colon or rectum, called polyps. The chance of a polyp turning into cancer depends on the type of polyp it is. If cancer forms in a polyp, it can grow into the wall of the colon or rectum over time. The wall of the colon and rectum is made up of many layers. Colorectal cancer starts in the innermost layer (the mucosa) and can grow outward through some or all of the other layers. When cancer cells are in the wall, they can then grow into blood vessels or lymph vessels, which are tiny channels that carry away waste and fluid. From there, they can travel to nearby lymph nodes or to distant parts of the body. The stage of a colorectal cancer depends on how deeply it grows into the wall and if it has spread outside the colon or rectum.


RISKS AND CAUSES: There are many lifestyle-related factors that have been linked to colorectal cancer. Being overweight raises the risk in both men and women, but the link seems to be stronger in men. Regular moderate to vigorous physical activity has been shown to help lower your risk. However, eating a diet that’s high in red meats (such as beef, pork, lamb, or liver) and processed meats (like hot dogs and some luncheon meats) raises your colorectal cancer risk, as well as cooking meats at very high temperatures. This creates chemicals that might raise your cancer risk. Having a low blood level of vitamin D may also increase your risk. People who have smoked tobacco for a long time are more likely to develop and die from colorectal cancer. And light-to-moderate alcohol intake has been associated with some risk. Some DNA mutations can be passed on in families and are found in all of a person’s cells. These are called inherited mutations. A very small portion of colorectal cancers are caused by inherited gene mutations. Special genetic tests can find gene mutations linked to these inherited syndromes.


NEW RESEARCH BEATS IMMUNOTHERAPY RESISTANCE: New research led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Geneva provides insight on why some types of colorectal cancers don’t respond to immune checkpoint inhibitors. Rakesh K. Jain, director of the E.L. Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology at MGH and Andrew Werk Cook Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School, said, “A major cause of mortality in patients with colorectal cancer is the development of liver metastases.” Jain and his colleagues investigated the composition of immune cells present in liver metastases in mice and compared it with that of colorectal cancer cells injected under the skin. When the team increased the number of dendritic cells within liver metastases, the treatment led to an increase in cytotoxic T lymphocytes within the tumors and caused the tumors to become sensitive to immune checkpoint inhibitors. “Our study highlights the importance of orthotopic tumor models in immunotherapy studies and underscores the relevance of dendritic cells for effective immune checkpoint blockade,” said co–corresponding author Mikaël J. Pittet, professor of immunology at University of Geneva.


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