If there was a way for you to actively lower your risk for colorectal cancer, would you participate? Colonoscopies are necessary to detect cancerous polyps as well as the threat of cancer. But you have a hand in raising and lowering your risk. The foods you eat directly influence your risk for colorectal cancer. Let us answer your questions to help you effectively protect your body from cancer.

How Do I Know Food Matters?  


A recent study followed 1,023 stage III colon cancer patients who had begun a chemotherapy clinical trial following surgery that removed cancerous tumors. The team of researchers, led by Dr. Kimmie Ng from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, evaluated the dietary insulin load of each patient shortly after they began chemotherapy treatments and six months after their treatments stopped. The dietary insulin load was determined by following the food log each patient kept. The research indicated that patients with a high insulin load were much more likely to see a recurrence of colorectal cancer or even die because of it. While the study refers to recurring colon cancer the findings line up with other findings affirming that your food choices play a crucial role in the development—and prevention—of colorectal cancer.

What is Dietary Insulin Load?


Insulin is not just something to be cautious about if you have diabetes. According to Dr. Ng, insulin has the ability to accelerate the reproduction of cells and prevent apoptosis—natural and necessary cell death. These effects cause cancer to progress and tumors to form. There are several foods that may currently make up the bulk of your diet that are known to raise insulin levels. All of this information signifies that you have a hand in the fight against cancer. You can either feed your body with foods that directly influence your risk for colorectal cancer, or feed your body with foods that will protect you from an unwanted diagnosis.

I’m Ready to Take Action. What Should I Do?


If you’re ready to start taking these warnings seriously and do your part to protect your body from cancer you need to faithfully adjust your diet. The majority of your caloric intake should comprise of leafy greens, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, protein, and healthy fats. Sounds easy enough, right? Healthy fats include avocado, olive oil, hummus, and nut butter. However, you’ll still need to eat these foods in moderation and read the labels to check the sugar content. Highly processed foods often contain a high sugar content masked in the form of corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sucralose, and sucrose. Limit, and consider cutting, highly processed foods and all forms of sugar to avoid an insulin response. Other foods that you should stay away from to reduce your dietary insulin load include carbohydrates such as potatoes, breakfast cereals and white bread, milk and sweetened yogurt, and red meat. Your next step should also be to add regular exercise into your routine and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.

Are Colonoscopies Necessary?


The short answer to this question is, yes! Colonoscopies are the only sure way to detect cancer in the earliest stages, or before it has even developed. In most cases, colorectal cancer doesn’t present with many symptoms until the late stages. This is why colorectal cancer is currently the third leading cancer in the United States and third leading cause of cancer deaths. The initial screening age for a colonoscopy has recently shifted to 45 years of age. As the number of younger people diagnosed with colon cancer rises, so does the sense of urgency to get screened. Don’t rely on the popular at-home tests. Colonoscopies have a 95% of detecting precancerous polyps giving you the best chance at cancer prevention. At-home tests have significantly lower results and will not effectively protect you from a cancer diagnosis. Schedule a colonoscopy at Carolina Digestive Health Associates if you are age 45 or above. If you have questions about your risk for colorectal cancer, don’t hesitate to book an appointment today.