The foods we choose to consume should be determined on more than just taste. Sure, everyone loves a good burger with a heaping side of fries, but if foods that are high in fat make up the majority of your daily consumption, you may see devastating results in your health. Particularly, colorectal cancer. Over 130,000 cases of colorectal cancer are reported each year, and diet is one of the leading causes.

The Research

A study at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio recently determined that cancer stem cells grow in the colon in response to regular high-fat food intake. Stem cells are cells that are able to replicate or produce new cells. Therefore, cancer stem cells found in malignant tumors engage in a process of self-renewal to spread cancer cells throughout the intestine and produce new tumors. The research at the Cleveland Clinic determined that a diet high in fatty foods enhanced the replication of aggressive cancer stem cells. However, when the researchers blocked the pathway that signaled the growth of these cells as a result from the high-fat foods, the spread of cancer cells declined. This demonstrates a direct link between our food consumption and the growth of colon cancer.

The Colon and Colon Cancer

The colon is a major player in the final stages of digestion. After food passes from the esophagus to the stomach, food is broken down into small particles and enters the small intestine so nutrients can be absorbed. Any food and nutrients that are not absorbed are stored in the large intestine until they are passed to the rectum and emptied in a bowel movement.

Research has determined that once fat has been digested in both the small intestine and large intestine, cancerous chemicals known as carcinogens are formed. If high fat foods are regularly consumed, more carcinogens are released and within the course of ten years, a malignant tumor forms in the large intestine or rectum. This is colorectal cancer—the third leading cause of cancer in the United States.

What You Can Do

In order to prevent colorectal cancer and remain healthy, make the following foods more common in your diet than foods that are high in fat:

  • vegetables
  • high fiber fruits and cereals
  • whole-grain breads

While a healthy diet is important, colorectal cancer is difficult to detect, especially in the early stages. This is why regular colorectal cancer screenings are so important. Schedule an appointment today with Carolina Digestive Health Associates for a colon cancer screening.