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5 Toxic Chemicals Capable of Causing Colon Cancer

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Aside from grilled foods which have a charred coating, foods that have been heat-treated, contain preservatives or have been contaminated with pesticides all have the potential to cause colon cancer.
  • Foods deep fried in oil that has already been used more than twice has been found to contain cancer-causing chemicals, due to the deterioration in the oil quality. When such chemicals accumulate in the body, it can increase the risk of cancer occurring in the digestive system.
  • Undergoing colon screening can help reduce the rate of fatalities that occur from this form of cancer. Such screening is especially advisable for high risk groups, such as people with a family history of cancer or those who enjoy foods capable of causing cancer.

 

“You are what you eat”

 

  • A phrase we commonly use, because it is true, you really are what you eat. Hence, to be well, we simply have to eat well. 

 

While genetic and environmental factors can cause colon cancer, the food and chemicals we are unintentionally exposed to can also play an important part. Let’s take a look at five hazardous chemicals capable of stimulating the development of colon cancer:

1. Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) 

are chemicals found in grilled foods that have become charred. They occur due to heat reacting with the fats found in meat, which results in toxic smoke. If one eats such foods regularly, these chemicals can accumulate in the body. Subsequently, they can cause colon as well as breast, lung and stomach cancer.

2. Acrylamide

is a chemical we find in food that has been deep fried or baked at high temperatures. For instance, french fries, crunchy breads and biscuits. It is especially prevalent in foods that have been fried in oil that has been used repeatedly, meaning on more than two occasions. This is because the quality of oils deteriorates with repeated use and as a result produces Acrylamide. When this chemical is allowed to build up in the body over time, it can increase the risk of cancer in the digestive system. Additionally, if we ingest the smoke produced by the aforementioned oils, it can result  in an increased risk of lung cancer.

3. Nitrate nitrite 

is a chemical substance used as a preservative. It is what gives processed meat products their red and pink colorings. This includes sausages, ham, bacon, sour pork, Chinese style sausage and salted beef. To explain, Nitrite reacts with the amine-based ingredients in these products along with the amino acids present in the stomach to produce nitrosamines. This chemical is capable of causing cancer in various bodily organs, including the pancreas, esophagus, bladder, liver, kidneys, stomach and colon. Thus, if we cannot avoid such chemicals, we must at least reduce its intake.

4. Organophosphate

is what we find in pesticides. This means we can find it in contaminated fruits and vegetables. Surveys have found that, of the insecticides used in the agricultural industry, the most common ones are those containing organophosphate. Now the questions that arise are, firstly, in today’s society with a preference for immediate results, how many of us are still cooking our own food at home? Also, how many of us cooking at home pay enough attention to ensure that the fruits and vegetables we buy are organically grown? Finally, how many of us are properly washing our purchases before eating it? It is crucial to be aware because studies have been linking this chemical with the onset of acute myeloid leukemia, brain cancer, lymphatic cancer and cancer of the digestive system.

5. Acetaldehyde

is a chemical ingredient in alcohol. Hence, regular drinking can increase the presence of this chemical in the body, making it difficult for the body to flush it out in a timely manner. This can eventually lead to destruction of the body’s DNA. Moreover, it can stimulate the production of numerous types of cancer-causing genes.

Apart from careful selection of foods, and constantly taking great care of our physical and mental health, it is important that we inspect our stools regularly, focusing on their color and appearance. This is because it is an effective, easy-to-do way to carry out basic health screening. And anyone is capable of doing it at home. In cases where the stools have undergone a sudden change in color, shape and form for no apparent reason, make a doctor’s appointment for a diagnosis. It may require a colonoscopy or treatment. Click to read more

 


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Supawong Assadamongkol, M.D. Summary: Preventive Medicine ,public Health Preventive Medicine ,public Health