Colorectal cancer is the one with the highest incidence in Spain. According to data from the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM), by 2022, there will be an estimated 43,370 colorectal cancers, with 28,706 colon and 14,664 rectal. The term “colorectal” groups both cancers, which are differentiated by the area of the large intestine in which they occur: colon (part of the large intestine that communicates the small intestine with the rectum) and rectum (last stretch of the digestive tract).
Therefore, the risk factors and symptoms are practically the same. As pointed out by the Cancer Observatory of the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), this disease is second cancer with the most deaths per year in our country, specifically with 15,923 (data from 2017).
The main risk factor for both colon and rectal cancer is age, as 90% of those diagnosed are people over 50. But so are other factors that the person can change: overweight or obesity, physical inactivity, poor diet, smoking, and alcohol consumption in large quantities.
The food you should avoid to reduce the risk of cancer
Karis Betts, nutritionist and head of health information at the Cancer Research Institute in the United Kingdom (Cancer Research UK), recently gave an interview in the Scottish newspaper ‘Daily Record,’ where she revealed the food you should avoid in your diet since its consumption increases the risk of colorectal cancer.
“Two of the biggest sources of protein are meat and fish. He explains that taking too much red and processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer,” he explains.
“If you eat a-lot of processed meat, you’d better switch to fresh chicken, fish, or legumes. They are very beneficial. You stop eating processed meat and fats and increase your fiber intake simultaneously. Having a high fiber diet-has many health benefits, including reducing cancer risk, “he says.
In addition, Betts recommends including legumes in the diet since they are excellent sources of protein and fiber and are low in fat. He referred to black beans, red beans, white beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
The differences between red meat and processed meat, according to science.
The relationship between processed meat consumption and red meat and the risk of colorectal cancer has been proven numerous times by science. However, there are differences between the-two types of meat.
As the Cries Cancer Foundation points out, even the consumption of “small amounts of processed meat,” when done regularly, increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Therefore, it is always recommended to avoid them.
As for red meat, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared it potentially carcinogenic. The nuance implies “potentially” is essential and differs from processed meat. In this sense, an increased risk of cancer is associated with excessive consumption of red meat, not with low consumption. Therefore, it-is recommended to moderate its consumption, but not avoid it, since this type of meat can provide critical nutrients, especially proteins and minerals, as long as it is consumed moderately. How much is healthy consumption? Five hundred grams of meat a week, of which only 200 should be red meat. You can consult in this link the IARC report that details these data and the relationship between these two types of heart and colorectal cancer.
Also, a study published in August 2021 by the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health identified DNA damage that linked colorectal cancer to high consumption of red meat.