People need to eat better and exercise more to prevent colon cancer

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A research team from Mayo Clinic has discovered a concerning rise in early-onset colon cancer, characterized as cases diagnosed before the age of 50.

In higher-income countries such as the U.S., the median age at diagnosis has decreased from 72 years in the early 2000s to 66 years now. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The Unidentified Cause of Early-Onset Colon Cancer

Most cases of early-onset colon cancer lack a known hereditary basis and identifiable cause, highlighting the need for comprehensive public health measures to address this issue.

The researchers note an urgent requirement to tackle risk factors for colorectal cancer, starting from adolescence.

The Role of Diet and Physical Inactivity in Colon Cancer

Poor dietary habits and physical inactivity are significant risk factors for colorectal cancer.

High-intake diets consisting of red and processed meats, refined grains, and processed sugar can disrupt the gut microbial composition.

This imbalance may result in chronic inflammation, increased rates of obesity, and consequently, a higher risk of colon cancer.

Proposed Strategies to Reduce Colon Cancer Risk

Adopting a plant-based diet and increasing physical activity may contribute to a healthier gut microbiome, reducing the risk of colorectal cancer. These lifestyle modifications may help lower the incidence of early-onset colon cancer.

Ongoing Research on Early-Onset Colon Cancer

The team is conducting research with large cohorts and international consortia to identify early life exposures that are most relevant to the development of early-onset colon cancer.

This effort is part of a broader strategy to understand the causes of this disease and devise effective prevention strategies.

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