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Candle light vigil for those who battled cancer

As the name suggests colorectal cancer is cancer affecting the colon and rectal regions. Did you know that as of 2017, there were approximately 135,430 new cases of colon cancer in the US. Of all the deaths that have occurred in the United States, colon cancer is reported to be 8% of them. The 5 year survival rate after receiving treatment was about 64.9% This shows that the recovery rate is quite a good number. This 5 year relative survival rate has definitely improved over the years, with better awareness, early detection and even cutting edge treatment options. Read more about colon cancer here.

Blame it on the bacteria

Did you know that colon cancer can be inherited? If we are talking numbers, then about 5 percent of colon cancers are caused by a hereditary syndrome. This syndrome is medically termed as familial adenomatous polyposis.  

Latest research at John Hopkins have found that bacteria have a key role to play. Sure enough, the colon contains at least 500 different types of bacteria. This was found after analyzing patients who had inherited cancer. 

The bacterias responsible for causing such cancer in people with a genetic predisposition were Bacteroides fragilis and Escherichia coli. Such colon cancer patients were found to have two particular bacterial species. These bacterial species was found to encourage the development of the disease.  These bacteria were responsible for invading the protective mucus layer of the colon. They then get together and conspire to create a micro environment for themselves. This micro environment has all the necessary things carefully stocked up so that they are able to thrive well. These tiny villains then, causes chronic inflammation. Subsequently this results in DNA damage which leads to abnormal cell growth, leading to tumour formation. 

When this study was conducted in animals, the researchers found that in animals that had just one of these bacterial species in their colon, developed few or no tumors. However when both the species were found, there were tumours galore. One possible way to prevent this disease, is by keeping the colon from becoming colonized by these two problematic bacteria. Another way was to devise drugs or vaccines that target the toxins produced by these species of bacteria.

Your drinking water could give you cancer

For years now, farmers have been using inorganic fertilizers. However unscrupulous and irresponsible use of such fertilizers have caused the contamination of ground water. Increasing nitrate content in such areas have been the cause of much uproar in the recent years, after it was found that the nitrate has slowly crept into the drinking water. Water sources from small private water supplies are seen to have higher concentrations of nitrate. 

It was found that people who were exposed to the highest concentration of nitrate in drinking water had about a 15 per cent greater risk of getting colorectal cancer when compared to those who had the least exposure. Presently, the current drinking water standard is 50 mg nitrate per litre of water. However, the increased risk of cancer was increased at any concentration greater than 4 mg nitrate per litre of water. Nitrate upon entering our body is converted into carcinogenic substances.

Nuts can help colon cancer survival

Nobody wants to be sick. Especially with cancer. After cancer, the next dreaded word is most definitely chemotherapy.  All is not totally bad for those diagnosed with cancer-especially colon cancer in this case. Nuts are here to help you. Have you gone nuts you ask? Wait there is more.

Nuts can in fact increase the disease-free survival rate, especially in those who are diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. If peanuts are your go to option, you might need to change that to get the cancer free benefits from nuts.  This is because, disease free survival rates increased by about 46% in those who ate tree nuts instead of peanuts.

Scarfing down on nuts will not just make you disease free. There must be a deliberate attempt to increase physical activity, maintain healthy weight, lower the consumption of sugar and other sweetened beverages. Dietary changes coupled with changes in life style is absolutely necessary to be cancer free and to further keep it at bay.

Watch what you eat

Who doesn’t love a good hot dog? Top it with some yummy ketchup and mustard and you are good to go! Processed meats make it easy to whip up a delicious, quick meal without the hassle of cooking actual meat. But there’s a catch my friend. These processed food can in fact put you at risk for cancer! This means you would have to rein in your consumption of sausages, corned beef, ham and even beef jerky. However, eating more of whole grains everyday can reduce your risk for colorectal cancer. This may not sound very appealing, but brown rice or whole-wheat bread, could actually help you be cancer-free. 

Being obese, eating copious amounts of red meat and even having more than two alcoholic drinks in a day can increase the risk of cancer. You can however take a step in the right direction by deciding to eat more grains and fiber, quitting smoking and by exercising more. American Institute of Cancer Research reveals that when compared to those who do very little physical activity, people who are more physically active have a lower risk of colon cancer. This decreased risk was in fact for colon cancer and not rectal cancer.

For years, mothers have reminded us to eat a good portion of vegetables and fruit daily. They might not be as yummy as spag bol or a pizza, but eating less than 100 gms per day of fruits and veggies can put you at a higher risk of developing cancer. For long it has been told by everyone you know, that Vitamin C rich foods can reduce cancer risk. Oranges, melons and Popeye’s favorite spinach are foods that are rich in vitamin C. Even fish was found to be a cancer-risk reducing food.