'Red meat, sugar may cause colorectal cancer in young people'

Web Desk
A representational image of an infected intestine. — Unsplash/File
A representational image of an infected intestine. — Unsplash/File

Researchers in their new study suggested that people may develop colorectal cancer at a younger age by consuming red meat and sugar, as they found differences in protein breakdown.

Colorectal cancer is increasing among people of young age and according to an estimate, it is to become a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in people aged 20 to 49 in the US by the year 2030.

The new study has underlined the dietary and environmental exposures that could cause cancer however, the experts could not identify the main driving cause behind it.

Dr Suneel Kamath with Cleveland Clinic and the senior author of a new study said: "As far as the cause is concerned, we really know very little about that so far."

In the study, two groups of people were compared; one was young and suffered from colorectal cancer and the other developed the cancer at a more average age.

The researchers found that those who were younger than 50 years with colorectal cancer had lower levels of citrate — a substance that is made when the body converts food into energy.

Researchers noted that they also "found differences in the breakdowns of protein and carbohydrates, which they say could suggest that red meat and sugar intake may be linked to getting colorectal cancer at a younger age."

Kamath remarked that the key takeaway is to modify your diet.

"The things we know we should be doing, increasing leafy green vegetables, limiting sugar, limiting processed foods, limiting red meat, and getting more of our protein from lean meats or poultry or beans, lentils," he said.

The symptoms of colorectal cancer are rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, cramping or abdominal pain, weakness, fatigue, and weight loss.

"Unfortunately, there’s a narrative out there in both the medical community and the general public that you can be too young to have cancer, and I want people to know that, unfortunately, that isn't the case," Kamath said.

Researchers said they hope this study paves the way for future research to further understand the causes of this disease and to hopefully be able to create better therapies for those young adults who are diagnosed with it.