WASHINGTON--The colorectal cancer rate continues to rise in African-American
men while dropping for whites of both sexes and for black women, reported
David S. Alberts, MD, associate dean for research, Arizona Cancer Center
of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson.
Furthermore, he said at the 6th Biennial Symposium on Minorities, the
Medically Underserved, and Cancer, blacks are generally diagnosed at a
later stage of the disease than are whites, leading to lower survival rates.
With every major genetic event in the progression to colon cancer now
understood, as well as the fact that 95% of colon cancers arise from adenomas,
as many as 90% of colorectal cancers are preventable through screening,
Proper sigmoidoscopy screening of all individuals in the cancer-prone
years above age 50 could prevent the huge majority of colon cancers and
bring a major drop in incidence, he continued.
Diet appears to be a significant factor in the rising rate among black
men, Dr. Alberts added. Consuming animal fat raises the risk, although
it is not known whether the fat itself or the method of cooking is to blame.
Broiling and barbecuing do appear to be implicated in colon cancer, he
Cut the Gravy
Consuming alcohol and high-calorie diets also increases the risk, as
does cigarette smoking. Diets high in fiber, on the other hand, lower risk.
Eating 27 g of fiber a day has been shown to cause a 27% drop in cancer,
and a diet rich in bran can reduce the size of large polyps.
A diet to reduce colon cancer should therefore be low in calories and
include lots of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, Dr. Albert said.
Meat, poultry, and fish should be baked, stewed, or micro-waved. Microwaving
meat for 3 or 4 minutes and then pouring off the juice can reduce carcinogen
content by up to 80%. It is also important to avoid gravy, which contains
all the "bad stuff."