Talking About… Processed Meat and Cancer

meat delicaciesDiets high in red and processed meats are a cause of colorectal cancer. Period.

That finding from our 2007 expert report was only strengthened in the 2010 Continuous Update Project Report on Colorectal Cancer, which reviewed evidence published since the 2007 report.

At this writing, more studies continue to be added to the CUP database; in 2017, the CUP expert panel will review the collected evidence once again and issue updated Recommendations for Cancer Prevention.

The existence of a link between red and processed meat and colorectal cancer is no longer surprising. But now researchers are asking the next questions –1. What is it, exactly, in red and processed meat that’s responsible for the increased risk, and 2. Is there anything we can do about it?

Amanda J. Cross, PhD, of Imperial College London, UK, will be presenting evidence tomorrow at our 2013 AICR Research Conference on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer. Continue reading


Study: Fiber, Gut Bacteria and Colorectal Adenoma Risk

Bacteria

Evidence is strong that consuming high amounts of dietary fiber protects against colorectal cancer. Previous research has suggested that fiber may play a role in colon cancer prevention due to its interaction with trillions of bacteria in our gut.

Now, a study adds to that evidence by focusing on advanced colorectal adenoma, a non-cancerous tumor that has the potential to develop into cancer.

The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that a high-fiber diet promotes healthy gut bacteria and its byproducts.

Gut microbiota are the microorganisms that live in our digestive tracts – in our stomach, intestines, and colon. We have about 10 trillion human cells in our body, but we have way more – about 100 trillion – microorganisms residing in our gut. A growing body of research is showing that these microorganisms are important to our health – from training our immune system, to producing vitamins and fighting off harmful bacteria. Continue reading


Focus Friday: The 50 Percent Solution

Picture 83This is the final Friday of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

If you forget everything else we’ve talked about this month regarding colorectal cancer, please remember this one number:

50. Five-Oh.

As in, 50 percent. As in, take the number of colorectal cancers that occur in the United States each year — about 143,500 — and cut it in half.

That’s how many cases we could prevent, just by making healthier everyday choices.

  • Move more, every day, in every way.
  • Eat more fiber-rich foods like vegetables, whole grains, fruits and beans — and make less room for red meat.
  • While you’re at it, skip cold cuts, bacon, sausage, hot dogs and other processed meats.
  • The more you follow this advice, the easier it’ll be for you to lose the excess body fat that, we now know, makes colorectal cancer more likely.

Fifty percent. One in two.

That’s nearly 72,000 lives that could be spared this debilitating and too-frequently deadly cancer.

All of us at AICR dearly hope you follow the National Cancer Institute’s advice on screening for colorectal cancer. Catching the disease in its early stages can and does save lives.

But we also hope you emerge from National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month with a new awareness that preventing this disease takes place outside of your doctor’s office. It happens every day, hundreds of times, with every small, unremarkable but vitally important choice you make about what to eat and how to live.