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How alcohol can affect the development of colorectal cancer


While heavy alcohol consumption is recognised as a contributor to the development of colorectal cancer (CRC), an increasing number of studies suggest that moderate alcohol consumption may not have an adverse effect on the risk of CRC, or even decrease the risk.

A recent study, comprising a meta-analysis of 16 studies into the relation of alcohol consumption to invasive CRC, was conducted by leading investigators in the field. ISFAR members consider this to be a well-done study, with a large number of subjects, the ability to use individual level data in their meta-analysis, and the use of appropriate and complete analytic techniques.

The key finding of their study was that there was a J-shaped curve evident in all of their analytic approaches; their results strongly support a J-shaped association for the relation of alcohol intake to CRC; a slightly lower risk of cancer for light- to moderate-drinkers and an increased risk for subjects reporting an average of three or more drinks per day. Further, they found that their results did not vary by age, obesity, smoking or family history of CRC.

Overall, the effects of benefits/harms were somewhat more striking for cancers in the distal colon than in the proximal colon.

Potential mechanisms for heavy alcohol consumption being related to an increase in risk were discussed by the authors. As for moderate drinking decreasing the risk, potential mechanisms have been considered by an ISFAR member. He describes active, beverage-specific metabolites other than ethanol that reach the intestine. In particular, our attention goes to the several microbial catabolites that can be formed via our host microbiota in the colon.

The finding of a J-shaped curve between alcohol and CRC is similar to the relation seen for a number of other diseases, including coronary artery disease, ischemic stroke, dementia and total mortality. While a linear relation between heavy drinking and certain upper aero-digestive tract cancers has been shown, for certain cancers there may be a J-shaped curve of effect, with reductions in risk for light-to-moderate drinkers.

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What can cause abdominal pain and constipation?


Abdominal pain is a common symptom of constipation, so they often occur together. There are many reasons why people experience abdominal pain and constipation, ranging from certain lifestyle factors to severe medical conditions.

Constipation is a widespread condition that can affect people of any age. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), around 16 out of 100 adults in the United States experience symptoms of constipation.

In this article, we list the symptoms of constipation and abdominal pain and explore some potential causes. We also look at when to see a doctor and treatment options.

Symptoms of constipation

The NIDDK define constipation as having fewer than three bowel movements a week.

Other symptoms of constipation include:

abdominal pain
difficulty or pain when passing stools
hard, dry, or lumpy stools
the sensation that the bowel is not empty after having a bowel movement

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Hours of TV Raises Risk of CRC in Young People


Sitting and watching TV and other sedentary behavior for more than two hours a day significantly increases the risk of contracting colorectal cancer among people under the age of 50.

According to the Nurses’ Health Study II of nearly 90,000 American nurses aged 25 to 42 when recruited for the study and followed up for two decades.

The risk is not increased by just sitting at the dinner table or reading a book, but by sedentary time resulting from passive media consumption on TV and the social media and the lack of vigorous physical activity.

Sedentary behavior, according to the study, involves the development of several chronic health outcomes, including cancer of the colon and rectum, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular. The very large, long-term prospective study was conducted by researchers at Harvard University in Massachusetts and and Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, Missouri. It was published in the Cancer Spectrum of the Journal of the [US] National Cancer Institute.

The researchers said that although rates of colorectal cancer in the older US population – as well as in parts of Europe and Asia – has decreased in recent years due to colonoscopy screening and better diet, they have “increased dramatically in those ages 20 to 49 in the US.

In younger people, this type of often-fatal cancer is typically diagnosed at a more advanced stage and with more aggressive tumors. As a result, the American Cancer Society now advises that people who have no family or personal history of the malignancy should be screened from the age of 45 instead of 50, which was the previous policy.

The nurses were asked to complete questionnaires at baseline and again every two years. The questionnaires included questions about their medical condition and health, physical data such as a body mass index and lifestyle-related risk factors or prevention, such as smoking, physical activity, diet, and overall caloric intake.

In addition, the participants were asked to list in the questionnaires information and data about their behavior, such as standing or walking around the house or in the workplace, and especially watching TV, measured in the range of seven to 14 hours per week (one or two hours a day). During follow-up of 22 years during, 118 nurses developed colorectal cancer before the age of 50. Associated with an increased risk factor for illness were prolonged TV viewing and video content viewing on social networks.

The researchers found that sighted television had an increased and dramatic effect on the risk of colorectal cancer in women under the age of 50. The conclusion was particularly pronounced among women who participated in the study and were overweight and obese who had little physical activity and had a history of smoking.

The researchers found that one to two hours of daily TV or video watching on the computer was associated with a 12-percent increase in the risk of colon cancer compared to women who watched less than an hour of the day. The risk of getting sick increased significantly in women who watched more than two hours a day and stood at 69% more than women who watched less than an hour a day. In addition, women who watched more than two hours a day increased their risk of developing rectal cancer by 2.44 times more than women who watched less than an hour a day.

“These findings provide further and dramatic proof of the great importance of adopting a healthy and active lifestyle to reduce the risk of cancer,” the researchers wrote.

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Want to keep bowel cancer risk at bay?


Intake of aspirin and omega-3 is safe and effective at reducing chances of bowel cancer in high-risk patients, according to a new clinical trial. 

In the trial, published in the journal The Lancet, these low-cost drugs reduced the number of pre-cancerous polyps -- a small growth, usually benign -- in patients found to be at high risk of developing bowel cancer. 

The findings showed that patients who took aspirin had 22 per cent fewer polyps compared to those who took the placebo.

Although aspirin and EPA had beneficial effects on polyp numbers individually, the combination of aspirin and EPA together appeared to have an even greater effect, as it provided another layer of prevention, alongside colonoscopy, the researchers said. 

"The trial demonstrates that both aspirin and EPA have preventative effects, which is particularly exciting given that they are both relatively cheap and safe compounds to give to patients," said Mark Hull, Professor at the University of Leeds in the Uk.



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