Thursday, 8 March 2012

Diet and bowel cancer

Recent press is again highlighting the importance of diet in the development of several types of cancer.

The role of diet in the development of bowel cancer is a complex area. There is plenty of evidence from population studies that peoples who eat large amounts of red meats (pork, beef, Lamb) have higher rates of colon cancers. The exact mechanism by which meat causes cancer is uncertain. A number of potential culprits including bile acids and heterocyclic amines have been identified.
The role of fibre in preventing bowel cancer is less well understood. Some types of fibre seem to have a greater protective role than others. Of our other dietary constituents, a consistently high alcohol intake has been linked to an increased risk of bowel cancer.
The government advises that people should not regularly drink more than the daily unit guidelines of 3-4 units of alcohol for men (equivalent to a pint and a half of 4% beer) and 2-3 units of alcohol for women (equivalent to a 175 ml glass of wine). Regularly drinking more than this is associated with an array of health risks.

Simon Radley 3/11/11

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