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Diet & Early Screening For Colorectal Cancer

Does red meat cause cancer? Many believe that red meat is a causative factor and that dietary fibre is a preventive factor for colorectal cancer.

In a study conducted on almost 89,000 nurses, and published in the 1999 Edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, it was found that women who ate a high-fibre diet were just as likely to develop colon cancer as women who ate a low-fibre diet. In other words, fibre does not protect against colon cancer.

In my clinical experience I have seen many people who were misled into giving up meat (which is needed for a healthy body) for a complete vegetarian diet and yet ultimately still develop colorectal cancer. The more crucial truth is that we do need a good balanced diet.

A balanced diet is dependent on what our body needs and what we are doing for that day. For example, if one is exercising vigorously in the gymnasium for the first day and wants to build muscles, then one should eat more proteins. If one is doing laborious work or intensive aerobic exercises the second day then one should take in more carbohydrates. However if staying at home sleeping mostly and watching television on the third day then he should just eat less.

To gain weight, eat more;to lose weight, eat less. If diabetic, eat less carbohydrate. If one has gout, eat less protein. A 100-metre sprinter compared to a marathon runner will have different eating habits and training requirements thoughboth are equally fit.

Early Screening

Almost all colonic cancers arise from pre-existing polyps. If these benign polyps are removed, cancers can never arise. Therefore, although screening by colonoscopy may seem troublesome, there is nothing more comforting than to detect cancer early. Screening is therefore very important. The recommendation to start screening for colorectal cancers by most colorectal or cancer societies around the world (including Singapore) at only age 50 years is erroneous.

Lately there is a sudden upswing in the number of cases of colorectal cancers in Singapore and around the world for those age 45. It is advisable that everyone should start screening at 35 years old and again at age 40. Such a schedule of screening will detect polyps at the benign stage and can prevent cancer from developing. It is really the only sort of screening that is preventive and useful for any sort of cancer.

Once cancer is detected, a good diet regimen is very important. UnfortunatelyI many people seem to follow an illogical but popular theory of “starving your cancer diet regime”. This enforced diet is nonscientific and medically incorrect. Many patients die prematurely as a result of following this diet as they lose body weight and develop poor nutrition.

Cancer antibodies and body repair cells are protein based and they also need sugar. The brain is also dependent on sugar. After surgery and during chemotherapy the patient should have high meat and carbohydrate diet. A high fibre diet at this time is illogical as fibre is not nutritious at all to humans. A normal amount of vegetables and fruits of course will contribute needed essential vitamins, minerals and more sugar to the patient. Vitamins are not building blocks for rebuilding the body or repair of body structures. Minerals and proteins are more needed for skin, muscles, tissues and bones.