Colorectal cancer is a last ditch response of the large intestine to the hostile environment created by the “end-user.” By “hostile environment” I mean the sum of all external and internal cancer triggers. When these triggers overpower your immune system, the malignancy takes over. Avoid these triggers, and you are less likely to ever experience colorectal cancer.

Just like with most other cancers, there are primary and secondary triggers of colorectal cancer. These triggers are represented by mechanical, chemical, and biological risk factors that (1) may cause cell mutation (that precedes tumors), or (2) the inflammation of the mucosal membrane that strips the colon and rectum from its innate protection against chemical, bacterial, and viral pathogens, or (3) both.

— The mechanical triggers include the already discussed large stools and straining.  Technically, man-made x-ray and electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from power lines, cell phones, radars, and radio transmitters is also a mechanical trigger, although the radiation’s ultimate destructive action — abnormal cellular mutation — is biological.

— The chemical triggers include medicines, alcohol, food additives, your own bile (if it isn’t fully neutralized and utilized in the small intestine and reaches the large intestine), and environmental hazards, such as herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals, dioxin, trans fats, and countless others.

— The biological triggers are malnutrition, bacteria, such as Clostridium difficile , implicated in colon cancer, viruses, infection with cancerous cells from other organs. The inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are also “biological,” but since these conditions are caused by the same triggers that cause colon cancer, technically they aren’t triggers, but symptoms or markers.

Amazingly, if you read just about any guide on colorectal cancer, from the National Cancer Institute to The Merck Manual, and everything in-between, you won’t find a single mention of most of these secondary causes. Don’t ask me why, ask them!

The following suggestions should help you to reduce or eliminate most of the secondary triggers associated with any cancer, not just colorectal. Following  80/20 rule, I’ll list the dominant ones for colorectal cancer. Avoiding them will give you the most return with the least investment of effort:

Antibiotics. Antibacterial drugs decimate intestinal flora, damage primary immunity, and leave your colon membrane and your body wide open and welcoming to pathogens. In case you have to take any, restore your intestinal ecosystem after the treatment.

Laxatives. Besides fiber , (a bulk-forming laxatives), several other types of laxative are in common and widespread use — lubricant laxatives (mineral oils), emolient laxatives (docusate), hyperosmolar laxatives (lactose, sorbitol), stimulant laxatives (senna, castor oil, bisacodyl, aloe juice), and saline laxatives (epsom salts, milk of magnesia). Extended use of all classes of laxatives plays a role in carcinogenesis for reasons I describe here.

Laxogenic food. Certain non-fibrous foods have a pronounced laxative effect. Plum juice and prunes — a perennial, popular laxogenic food — contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that is behind blindness and nerve damage, including anorectal — a primary cause of age-onset irregularity and constipation which in turn may cause colorectal cancer.

Spices. Sharp spices irritate the colonic mucosa in the same way that they irritate the oral cavity. The ensuing secretion of fluids softens stools and stimulates colonic peristalsis. For this reason spices are commonly used throughout the world as natural laxatives. Unfortunately, long-term use of spices may contribute to carcinogenesis because of their pronounced inflammatory effect. A burning sensation around the anus during defecation indicates that you are kicking your food a notch too high for good health and longevity.

Exposure to heavy metals. Remove dental amalgams because they poison you with heavy metals such as mercury, silver, and zinc. For the same reason you shouldn’t use silverware and stemware from heavy crystal to avoid lead exposure.

Trans fats. Avoid using vegetable oils or derivative products (such as spreads and margarine) because processed vegetable fat contain carcinogenic trans fats, and is potentially carcinogenic in itself. Fats form the protective shield of every cell. Vegetable fat in the “animal” environment may leave cell membranes permeable to pathogens that cause mutation. For this reason I recommend avoiding vegetable fat. You can read more on this subject here.

Malnutrition. To prevent cancer-causing malnutrition, consume adequate amounts of primary fat because it is required for cellular metabolism, assimilation of minerals and fat-soluble vitamins, intestinal recovery, endocrine and immune functions, and many other biological needs.  You should also consume adequate amounts of primary protein from quality meats, fowl, fish and seafood to maintain a healthy mucosa and immunity. More on this subject here.

Medicines. Avoid taking medication in non-critical situations because practically all drugs are potentially carcinogenic, including over-the-counter “remedies.” Any chemical capable of suppressing immune system responses, such as high fever, inflammation, or pain, is a potent immunodepressant. So while you are suppressing a running nose with aspirin or bronchitis with an antibiotic, you also open up immune barriers to opportunistic infections and cancers. If in doubt, just read the stats about the high-rate of secondary complications related to infective disorders. Hypertension drugs are another good example of drug-induced carcinogenicity. Reducing blood pressure inhibits micro-circulation, particularly on the periphery. As a result, cellular debris isn’t carried out as promptly and efficiently as without medication, and this condition may contribute to oncogenesis.

Known environmental carcinogens. Eliminate all known carcinogens from your household, particularly those that have contact with food such as plastic storage containers, Teflon-covered pans, silverware (source of silver), crystal glasses (source of lead), etc.

Consumer-grade supplements. Most, if not all, consumer-grade supplements contain known irritants and carcinogens, and may contribute to cancers, and particularly colorectal (because they tend to accumulate in feces). That is why numerous research projects on the role of supplements in prevention of cancers demonstrated no preventative effect, and even an increase of cancer rates in some studies. More on this subject here.

Processed food. Avoid processed food with additives, stabilizers, artificial colorings and preservatives. If the package contains the name of a component you don‘t know, you can‘t eat that! Drinks with probiotics, such as Activia, are a good example of potentially hyper-allergenic and carcinogenic foods. More on this subject is here.

Non-organic produce. Avoid conventional fruits, vegetables, berries, and juices, particularly imported. There are few, if any, controls outside of the United States, hence these foods may contain traces of harmful fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. The occasional, conventional apple, tomato, or avocado isn’t likely to cause much harm, but consuming them over 10-20 years adds up to tens of thousands of contaminated fruits and vegetables passing through your large intestine.

X-rays and electromagnetic field radiation. Avoid unnecessary medical procedures, particularly requiring x-rays (CT scans) or exposure to strong electromagnetic fields (MRI). The cellular mutations caused by exposure to x-ray and EMF may cause more cancers than all other causes combined. Digital dental x-rays and bone density scans are relatively save because the doses are very small.

Obesity. Maintain normal or close to normal weight. Extra weight by itself isn‘t a cause of cancer. Many overweight people are just as healthy and long-lived as normal weight individuals. But that extra weight is a marker of diabetes or prediabetes in the same way that excess blood sugar or elevated triglycerides are. In turn, diabetes and obesity are well established risk factors for colorectal cancer.

Preventive diagnostic tests. Today‘s super-powerful diagnostic tests (genetic, blood, tissue, etc.)  can find fault with just about anyone regardless of age. And the more you look for problems, the more of them you‘ll find. And the more problems you find, the more you‘ll treat them. And the more you treat them, the more harm you may cause. So if nothing hurts, don‘t invite bad luck!

Alcohol consumption. Alcohol lowers blood sugar. That is why you feel weak in the knees, experience a buzz in the head, sleepiness, and get sugar cravings. In turn, low blood sugar raises the level of insulin. That is why drunks get angry, aggressive, and demand respect. In turn, an elevated level of insulin inhibits blood circulation by narrowing blood vessels and raising triglycerides. That is why excessive alcohol consumption causes pale skin in some (hypotension), hypertension in others. All of it contributes to obesity — that’s why people get a beer belly. All of these outcomes — hypotension, hypertension, obesity, elevated triglycerides — are well known risk factors for colorectal cancer.

Anal sex is mechanically similar to large stools and straining, only in reverse and much longer in duration. In addition to fissures and hemorrhoids, it is likely to cause infections and ulcerations that may turn cancerous. Also, by age 35-40, anal sex is likely to provoke irreversible, anorectal nerve damage that commonly precedes chronic constipation. I do not know the incidence of colorectal cancer among gay men, but it is probably just as considerable as the number of anorectal disorders in the same group.

Negativity. Negativity causes internalized stress. Extended stress impedes blood circulation and depresses the immune system just enough to allow cancerous cells to take hold and proliferate. Stress is a part of any life, and you can’t avoid it regardless of social status or wealth. So, recommending anyone to “avoid stress” is as prudent as recommending suicide, although it stops it. You can, however, minimize the stress impact by maintaining a positive outlook, and not allowing circumstances to contaminate your subconscious mind with an endless stream of negative thinking, and acting on this thinking.

This list is far from comprehensive, but it is sufficiently representative. Anything that may cause or contribute to any other cancer, such as the cancer of lungs, or breasts, or prostate, may also cause or contribute to colorectal cancer simply because cancer cells spread throughout the body with the blood and lymph, and are further enabled by the depressed immune system.

Each little step and each little conscious effort to eliminate known carcinogens helps a great deal to shield yourself from all cancers, not just colorectal. And the more steps you take, the stronger the shield, so you can slack off in some other areas. This is why some lucky people may smoke their entire lives, and don’t get lung cancer, and why others enjoy a perpetual tan without ever experiencing melanoma.

Primary causes, a depressed immunity, and secondary triggers accumulate with age. The brunt of colorectal cancer epidemic centers around people in their late sixties, earlier seventies. Not so much because they are “old,” but mainly because they are “aged.” Growing old without getting aged is our next and final step in our quest to escape colorectal cancer’s deadly embrace..

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