Rising Colorectal Cancer Rates Among the Young; Prevention Key

Over the past three decades there’s been a slight but steady decline in colorectal cancer incidence here in the US, thanks in large part to increased screening. Now a study out this week showing that rates of this cancer are increasing among young people — below the typical screening age — highlights the importance of people of all ages adopting healthy behaviors that can halve the risk of colorectal cancer.Picture 83

The study – published in JAMA Surgery – found that among 20- to 34-year-olds, the data indicates incidence of colon and rectal cancer will increase by 90% and 124%, respectively, by 2030. Among the 35 to 49 year olds, rates are estimated to increase by 28% and 46%, respectively.

This large study confirms previous research on incidence trends, and it points to a growing public health problem, the authors note. Lifestyle and behavioral factors such as obesity may be a possible cause.

AICR estimates that half of all colorectal cancer cases are preventable if people were to eat healthier diets, move more and stay lean.

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Potatoes: Bad Guys or Cancer-Fighters?

Read an article about foods you shouldn’t eat and white potatoes may well be on the list. The starchy staple is linked in some studies to overweight and obesity and we lag far behind in getting enough non-starchy veggies, like leafy greens, summer squash, broccoli and colorful peppers, all shown to lower risk for several kinds of cancer. But are potatoes so nutrition-poor we should never eat them?

Potatoes’ bad nutritional reputation probably stems more from how we are eating them, rather than the spud itself. share-of-potato-sources-for-us-consumersA recent report from the USDA Economic Research Service shows that, depending on where we eat them, one-third to two-thirds of our potatoes are chips or fries. Even at home, we eat potatoes as chips more than any other way.

Consider that a small serving of fries or chips is double the small potato’s calories, 10 times the fat and less than half the vitamin C. We just need to re-think the potato on our plate, not eliminate. Continue reading


Resistant Starch May Reduce Red-Meat Colorectal Cancer Risk

Eating high amounts of red meat increase risk of colorectal cancer while fiber-filled food reduces the risk, AICR research shows. Now comes a study that offers one possible explanation for both links, finding that diets high in red meat and a type of non-digestable fiber have opposite effects on a group of genetic molecules.Chuckwagon Chili Con Carne

The study was published in Cancer Prevention Research.

Study researchers focused on a type of fiber called resistant starch. Our bodies don’t digest resistant starch in the small intestine. Then in the gut, bacteria convert resistant starch into the compound butyrate. In lab studies, this compound protects against colon cancer.

For the study, 23 participants, ages 50 to 75, switched between two types of diets. In one diet each person was given 300 grams — about 10 ounces — of raw lean red meat a day. That’s about the equivalent of a cooked 8 ounce burger. The other diet had the same red-meat content plus a butyrate resistant starch formulation. Each person was on one diet for four weeks then after a four-week washout period, switched to the second diet for four weeks. Continue reading