Alcohol could fuel the development of colon cancer, according to a new study. This was gleaned from a large population study, which may have identified an important aspect of cancer prevention in people who have a family tie to this fatal disease.
This health breakthrough was based on more than 87,000 women and 47,000 men in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. It looked at whether there is a link between colon cancer and alcohol. A total of 1,801 cases of colon cancer were diagnosed from 1980 onwards.
(Plus, find out how a vegetable could prevent colon cancer.)
The increased risk of colon cancer showed up in these people: those with a family history, whose average alcohol intake was 30 or more grams per day. That level is equivalent to about two-and-a-half drinks. Those at greatest risk also ate the most red meat, smoked the most, and had the lowest intake of folate (suggesting they ate fewer green vegetables and cereals). Hence, these people have the unhealthiest lifestyles in general of the populations studied.
On the subject of vitamin cures, folate (a B-vitamin) was found to lower colon cancer risk. Low levels of this vitamin went right along with alcohol consumption as a risk factor for cancer in people with a genetic link. It reinforces that a healthy diet is very important for cancer prevention.
The researchers draw a very important point from the facts emerging from their study. Since the study began, the ways in which colon cancer is diagnosed and the amount of information we have about prevention have changed considerably. They say that some of these cases would probably have been prevented if managed according to current guidelines.
We’ve come a long way in protecting ourselves from cancer. If one of your parents or siblings or someone in your extended family has had colon cancer, you may be doing yourself a big favor by watching your alcohol intake.