March is National colorectal awareness month. One of the primary reasons campaigns such as these are conducted is to inform the public on how to reduce its risk for a particular cancer or disease. While we applaud the various organizations for making individuals more aware of the need for screening, we at Embee Plant Physicians want to make you aware on how you can drastically reduce your likelihood of ever getting colon cancer.
Colon Cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in the USA. And it is on the rise! In fact, in 2018, American Cancer Society lowered the age of screening from 50 to 45 for people of average risk. Why is the incidence of colorectal cancer rising rapidly in younger people? Lack of exercise, diet, obesity, smoking, and alcohol are the primary risk factors fueling this epidemic. World Health Organization in 2014 placed processed red meat in Group 1 carcinogenic category and red meat in Group 2A carcinogenic category.
Specifically, the Standard American Diet, which is high in animal foods and processed foods and low in plant foods with fiber alters the gut bacteria. This alteration of our gut bacteria(microbiota) is felt to be a major contributor to inception of colon cancer. On the other hand, fiber in plant foods is highly protective against colorectal cancer. Colorectal Cancer is an entirely preventable disease with a clear link to diet. This too is mainly a foodborne illness. Countries where people consume a high fiber and low animal food diet have very low rates of colon cancer.
Recommendation by the American Cancer Society to lower the age of screening for colon cancer falls woefully short in addressing this epidemic. We believe the solution should be to educate and advise people on importance of increasing plant foods and eliminating animal foods, especially red meat. Eliminating known carcinogens from our diet is true preventive medicine. This March, let’s make a pledge to be truly aware and add more plants in our diet and spread the word of this truly remarkable life saving eating pattern to our friends and family.Leave a reply