Maybe you’ve worked really hard to limit your consumption of soda. In fact, you pat yourself on the back because you’ve gotten down to just one can a day. You’ve heard the warnings about high fructose corn syrup and remember to read your labels, avoiding the products with this hidden ingredient—at least for the most part. You’re on the right track to limiting your sugar intake and you should be proud. It’s important to take health warnings about sugar and high fructose corn syrup seriously. But a new study reveals that simply limiting your consumption may not be enough. Even small amounts consumed every day has the potential to increase your risk for colon cancer.

Research Highlights

Researchers observed tumor growth in mice who were predisposed to colon cancer. The mice were each given water containing high-fructose corn syrup that was the equivalent of a 12-ounce sugary drink like a can of soda. The study also explored whether or not high-fructose corn syrup could increase tumor growth. Researchers deleted the APC gene, which makes them more susceptible to developing precancerous growths called polyps. This was necessary because more than 90% of humans with colon cancer have a mutated APC gene. The results showed larger and more aggressive tumors in the mice who received high-fructose corn syrup. It did not indicate that sugar caused the tumor, but that sugar increased the speed at which the tumor grew.

What Does This Mean For Us?

Because mice have different qualities than humans, much more research is needed to confidently connect the results of this study to people. However, high-fructose corn syrup and other hyperglycemic foods have been a determined link to colon cancer. We also know that during the same years sugar-sweetened drinks have been at an all-time high, the rates for colon cancer in younger people have skyrocketed.

Research also proves that obesity is one of the common risk factors for colon cancer and the consumption of sugary drinks is associated with obesity. So even though more research is required, we should take this warning seriously. Even drinking one can of soda every day increases your risk for colon cancer. If you are obese or are at risk for colon cancer, you need to pay attention to the amount of sugar you consume on a daily basis. That one can of your favorite soda is not worth the risk of a cancer diagnosis.

Can I Prevent Colon Cancer?

By making simple lifestyle adjustments like exercising and limiting your consumption of sugar, you can reduce your risk for colon cancer. But the best way to prevent cancer is to schedule a colonoscopy. Regular screening can truly be lifesaving. Colonoscopies can detect and remove polyps before they become cancer. Those that have colonoscopies on a regular basis have a better chance of catching colon cancer while it is still in a treatable stage. If one of your immediate family members has a history of colorectal cancer, you may be eligible for a colonoscopy at an earlier age. If you have no family history of colorectal cancer, the recommended age for your first colonoscopy is 45. 

If you have questions or concerns about your risk for colon cancer, make an appointment at GI Associates & Endoscopy Center today.

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