Colorectal Cancer Warning: New Study Links Western Diet to Rise in Young Adult Cases

Columbus, Ohio – Colorectal cancer rates among young adults are alarmingly increasing, prompting researchers at Ohio State University to delve into the impact of dietary habits on the development of early-onset colorectal cancer. The so-called “Western diet”, which is high in fat and low in fiber, has been linked to disruptions in the gut microbiome, leading to inflammation that accelerates cell aging and raises the susceptibility to cancer.

Presenting their findings at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, the Ohio State University researchers highlighted how individuals with early-onset colorectal cancer exhibited biological ages around 15 years older than their actual chronological ages. In contrast, patients with late-onset colorectal cancer showed no significant discrepancy between biological and chronological ages.

Fusobacterium, a common bacterium found in the mouth, has come under scrutiny by the OSU scientists for its potential role in fueling colorectal cancer growth. Further research into the connection between Fusobacterium and colorectal cancer has been conducted by other cancer scientists, shedding light on the manipulatable nature of microbes and the possibility of targeting them to prevent disease progression.

As the scientific community works to unravel the root causes of early-onset colorectal cancer, alarming statistics reveal a sharp increase in diagnoses among young individuals worldwide. In 2019, 20% of new colorectal cancer cases were reported in people under the age of 55, a significant jump from just 11% in 1995, according to data from the American Cancer Society.

Studies have suggested that a diet rich in dietary fiber can potentially lower the risk of various types of cancer, including esophageal, gastric, colon, and rectal cancer. Fruits such as oranges and apples, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are all recommended to reduce the risk of cancer by feeding healthy gut bacteria.

Unfortunately, a large portion of the population, particularly Americans, do not consume adequate amounts of fiber in their diets. Women are advised to aim for 25 grams of fiber daily, while men should strive for 38 grams to support overall health and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.