June 19, 2024

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Worldwide Increase in Young Colorectal Cancer Patients Linked to “Junk Food”

Worldwide Increase in Young Colorectal Cancer Patients Linked to “Junk Food”



Worldwide Increase in Young Colorectal Cancer Patients Linked to “Junk Food”

Among young adults who were traditionally believed to have a low risk of cancer, the incidence of colorectal cancer (colon or rectal cancer), which takes a long time to be detected, is rapidly increasing.

Research conducted until now has revealed a clear connection between this challenging cancer and “junk food” or processed foods, such as hamburgers, fried potatoes, certain snacks, cereals, desserts, and sugary beverages.

Worldwide Increase in Young Colorectal Cancer Patients Linked to "Junk Food"

Guido Bacheller, CEO of Mainz Biomed, the company that developed a rectal and colon cancer screening kit, stated, “Society has shifted toward consuming foods with high amounts of additives and preservatives. This transition appears to be contributing to the significant increase in people developing the disease.”

In August 2023, a team of researchers from the Salk Institute in California and the University of California, San Diego, announced the results of experiments using mice, indicating that a high-fat diet alters the composition of gut bacteria, leading to the proliferation of bacteria that promote the production of bile acids, crucial molecules for digestion.

This bacterial proliferation is believed to cause inflammation in the gut, increasing the risk of cancer development.

In August 2022, the results of an analysis of three large cohort studies conducted in the United States were published in the British medical journal The BMJ. According to this research conducted by researchers in the United States and Brazil, men who consumed a high quantity of ultra-processed foods had a 29% higher risk of developing rectal cancer compared to the group with the lowest consumption.

In addition, in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency affiliated with the World Health Organization (WHO), announced that processed meat could be a contributing factor in human rectal cancer development.

One of the Preventable Cancers

According to data from the medical journal JAMA Surgery, the number of young colorectal cancer patients aged 20-34 is expected to increase by 90% by 2030. However, colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers.

When detected early, the survival rate for colorectal cancer exceeds 90%. In contrast, at stage 3 detection, the five-year survival rate drops to 71%. For stage 5, the probability is a mere 14%.

Numerous Factors Affect the Risk of Onset
According to research, the risk of developing colorectal cancer is influenced by various factors, including genetics, environmental influences, lifestyle choices, and more. Amanda Board, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic, says, “Research results indicating the importance of a healthy diet in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer are increasing. For those with a family history, especially, diet is crucial.”

The Need for New Screening Methods

The increase in young colorectal cancer patients and the limited examples of early detection through screening (often due to a fear of endoscopy) highlight the importance of more accessible screening methods and public education.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has approved non-invasive screening methods as an alternative to endoscopy for individuals aged 45 and above, allowing for a fecal DNA test to be performed at home every three years. These tests use messenger RNA (mRNA) biomarkers, and there are patents pending for devices like “ColoAlert.” Large corporations are increasingly recognizing the importance of prevention and early detection, offering employees opportunities for healthy diets and screenings.

Results from a systematic review on early-onset colorectal cancer (EOCRC) published in 2022 also indicated that individuals who regularly consumed fried foods, processed foods, high-fat foods, sugary beverages, and had low intake of folate and dietary fiber had a significantly higher risk of onset.

The aforementioned Bacheller CEO emphasizes, “The truth lies in science. If you undergo regular screenings, delays in diagnosis will be eliminated. Dietary habits are a modifiable risk factor that can lead to saving lives.”

Worldwide Increase in Young Colorectal Cancer Patients Linked to “Junk Food”


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