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What’s in Your Gut May Affect Your Chances for Colon Cancer

By eHealthIQ
Reviewed: July 18, 2016

Nature or nurture? In the case of colonic cancer, the third-most common kind of cancer in the United States, evidence seems to point toward both. Recent studies have shown that rates my colorectal cancer vary depending on the kinds of microbes living in our intestines, which in turn have a role in bile duct cancer. Researchers studied rats in the lab and found that their chances for colorectal cancer was directly correlated with the kinds of microbiota found in their intestines. Half the rats studied were found with microbiota labeled LEW by researchers while the other half had F344. Colonic tumors were found in none of the rats with the LEW microbiota, while those with F344 occasionally had increased rates of colonic tumors, especially if they were found to contain Peptococcaceae and Akkermansia muciniphila. The good news is that microbiota found in the intestines is a result of not only genetics but also environment and diet. This increasing focus on microbiota in the healthcare field has spawned a wild craze for naturally probiotic foods like yogurt, kombucha, or even sauerkraut. While general health and wellbeing have been linked to consuming more probiotic foods, the jury is still out on its effect on colon cancer. Certainly, avoiding foods that are directly linked to colon cancer, like red meat, alcohol, or processed meats is a good idea as always, probiotic or not.
Rather than eating one’s weight in sauerkraut, adjuvant chemotherapy might be a better solution to cancer. According to the journal <i>Cancer</i>, chemotherapy immediately following surgery for colorectal cancer has been shown to be an effective way to fight advanced colon cancer for years, to the point where it is common practice. Recently, it has been found that adjuvant chemotherapy is equally effective in early-stage colon cancer regardless of the age of the patient or the kind of chemotherapy administered. The study, performed at the University of Illinois at Chicago, looked at 153,110 patients with stage-2 colorectal cancer and found that patients who underwent adjuvant chemotherapy survived much longer, across the board, than those who did not. The difference was sometimes in the order of years. This revelation will prove to be an important advance as colorectal cancer is taken increasingly seriously as one of the leading killers in the United States, particularly as it is one of the most preventable forms of cancer so long as those at risk–particularly middle-aged men–receive regular colonoscopies.



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