High-fat diets linked to soaring rates of bowel cancer

10 July 2017

Diets high in fat are making cases of bowel cancer soar.

Diets high in fat are making cases of bowel cancer soar in America.

Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal or colon cancer, is the third most common form of the disease in the U.S. and starts in the colon or rectum.

Scientists at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, looked at how fatty diets affected mice who had abnormal cells, linked to colon cancer growth, injected in them. And it’s not just junk food that’s classed as fat, but also healthy fats like avocados.

All the mice in the study had the abnormal cells and they were then split into two groups; one ate a normal diet and the other group consumed a high-fat diet.

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It was found that the high-fat diet increased the growth of aggressive, cancerous cells in the mice. The first group saw little change with the cancer cells.

The team further found that high levels of vitamin A were causing the tumours to grow, as it unlocked a pathway making it easier for normal cells to mutate.

“We have known the influence of diet on colorectal cancer. However, these new findings are the first to show the connection between high-fat intake and colon cancer via a specific molecular pathway,” lead author Dr Matthew Kalady commented.

Co-author Dr Justin Lathia added: “These findings provide insight into how environmental influences, such as diet, can alter cancer stem cell populations in advanced cancers.”

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Findings have been published in journal Stem Cell Reports, with the team hoping their study can help develop treatments to stop poor diets having such a disastrous impact on tumours.

“We can now build upon this knowledge to develop new treatments aimed at blocking this pathway and reducing the negative impact of a high-fat diet on colon cancer risk,” Dr Kalady added.

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