The incidence of colon and rectum cancer is rising in industrialized countries. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the US. Here are the projected statistics for 2017
in the US:
95,520 new cases of colon cancer
39,910 new cases of rectal cancer
50,260 deaths from colorectal cancer
The lifetime risk for colorectal cancer is 4.7% for men and 4.4% for women. Colon cancer typically shows up in the elderly population over 75 years old but is increasing in younger population groups.
Source: American Cancer Society Website
What Causes Colorectal Cancer?
Americans are not sufficiently educated or informed on what are clearly the major risk factors for colorectal cancer. Unless one is really looking, there are no warning labels, signs in doctor’s offices, billboards, magazine articles or films. Americans and people of other industrialized nations blindly follow a lifestyle that greatly elevates the risk of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer is 99% preventable through following a proper diet and maintaining an optimal balance of gut bacteria. Colorectal cancer is perhaps the most preventable of all the different form of cancer. This is because the direct cause is very clear and changes to one’s diet is all that is required to very significantly lower the risk.
What causes colon cancer? Scientific studies are demonstrating a link between gut microbes and their metabolic byproducts with colorectal cancer. Certain gut bacterial populations release toxic byproducts such as ammonia that can damage the cells lining the inner colon wall. Imagine a toxic soup chronically poisoning the lining of the colon year after year.
Fiber intake is negatively correlated with colorectal cancer while intake of animal protein and fat is positively correlated. There is a 50 to 1 difference in colorectal cancer rates among African Americans and Native Africans. The only difference is animal food intake which is very low in Africa. Genetics is clearly not a factor in this case. If one consumes animal products, a very high fiber intake is especially important to help sweep the colon wall clean of toxic byproducts, digestive waste and unhealthy bacteria.
The quality and balance of the gut microbiome is becoming much more of a key factor in many different health conditions. The colon is essentially our sewer system for processing food waste. The colon can be characterized as a back end composter. What should be happening in a normal healthy colon is the bacterial digestion of plant fibers which products many different compounds essential for our health. This includes the production of neurotransmitters and some precursors. Butyrate is a key byproduct of digestion of plant fiber and starch that is important to our health.
Will taking probiotic supplements offer any protection? Most likely not. Healthy gut bacteria need prebiotics which are various forms of plant fiber and starch to feed on. Consuming animal products in even small amounts unbalances the populations of friendly and unfriendly gut bacteria.
Preventing Colorectal Cancer
The most critical step in preventing colorectal cancer is adopting a plant-based diet that is composed of a high intake of fruits and vegetables. Also, avoid antibiotics as there is evidence linking antibiotic use to colorectal cancer. Purchase raw unpasteurized sauerkraut or kimchee or make either of these at home. Use these natural probiotic foods daily.
Keep in mind that all animal products contain no fiber and encounter difficulty in passing freely through the human digestive tract. Undigested animal protein that enters the colon feeds types of bacteria that release highly toxic compounds. It is best to eliminate all animal products from the diet as there is more than enough protein in a plant-based diet. Animal products carry many different health risks while offering zero health benefits.
Keep your colon clean by eating a breakfast of only fresh fruit. This practice will enhance general health by extending the daily detox cycle until the first meal. Eating fruit is highly cleansing and detoxifying to every organ and the lymphatic system. Regular exercise helps move stagnant waste from the colon. One may want to consider occasional colon hydrotherapy to relive the system of accumulated waste products. A raw vegan diet keeps the colon immaculately clean. Cooked plant-based foods tend to produce some stagnation and buildup of waste in the colon. Always follow the principles of proper food combining which is a topic that will be covered in a future newsletter.
See www.nutritionfacts.org for more information on the power of a plant-based diet in greatly lowering the risk of all degenerative diseases.