Chances are, you’ve heard of the mineral selenium because it’s one of those minerals that has shown a lot of cancer-fighting promise over the years. The latest selenium-cancer news being reported relates to colorectal cancer:
Presented yesterday at a major cancer prevention conference, the study suggests that a supplement containing selenium reduced the risk of having polpys recur by about 40 percent. (Polyps or adenomas are benign growths on the colon that, over time, can turn cancerous.)
The 411 participants had already had at least one colorectal adenoma removed. They took either a placebo or an antioxidant compound, which contained selenium, along with zinc, and vitamins A , C, and E. Five years and three colonoscopies later, the selenium-supplement group had significantly fewer polyps occur.
It’s still a preliminary study – far too preliminary for anyone to start taking selenium (or other) supplements to fight cancer. In fact, experts warn that too much selenium can be harmful. But if you want to add more selenium to your diet there’s plenty of healthy foods you can eat. In general, crimini or portabella mushrooms, eggs, and fish are good sources of this mineral. Need recipes? Last week, Cathy wrote about a recipe for hearty mushroom soup, which you can look at here.
In other selenium news, Cancer Research Update features a scientist at Roswell Park whose lab studies suggest that a selenium compound may improve cancer treatment.
According to a new report published in the journal Cancer, the number of deaths in the United States from colon cancer could drop significantly in the next decade due to improved screening and treatment. In the past 10 years, the death rate has dropped 20% according to the report. By 2020, the researchers predict, the death rate will be one half of what it was in 2000.
This is good news, but colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers according to David S. Alberts, MD . Diet and physical activity play an important role in lowering cancer risk and Dr. Alberts believes this is a message everyone should hear.
AICR’s expert report showed convincing evidence that consumption of processed meat, high amounts of red meat, body fatness and alcohol are causes of colorectal cancer. Physical activity was shown convincingly to reduce risk of colon cancer. Foods containing fiber and certain vegetables may also decrease risk for colorectal cancer.
AICR recommends that Americans focus on incorporating healthy habits to lower their risk for developing cancer. Eating a mostly plant-based diet, limiting red meat to less than 18 oz per week, exercising at least 30 minutes daily and maintaining a healthy weight are ways to reduce risk for cancer as well as other chronic diseases.