A study conducted over an 11-year period showed that people with higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in their blood were more likely to develop colorectal cancers than those with low levels of CRP. CRP is a marker of inflammation circulating in the blood. Higher levels of CRP are already associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and, now, colon cancer.
Researchers studied records of almost 23,000 adults who had participated in a study that started between May and October 1989, looking to identify those who developed colon or rectal cancer. At the time the study was conducted, the participants provided blood samples and completed questionnaires. Since then, the participants have been given additional questionnaires and tracking data.
Researchers found 172 participants who drew blood, up until December 2000, were diagnosed with either colon or rectal cancer. Of those, 131 had colon cancer and 41 had rectal cancer. They also noted that medium levels of CRP were higher among people who had developed colon cancer than among those who remained healthy and disease free.
However, by contrast, CRP levels were not significantly different between patients who developed rectal cancer than those who remained disease free.
As stated in the article, the study also found that:
The odds of developing colorectal cancers increased progressively with higher concentrations of CRP. Overall, people in the highest fourth of CRP had twice the risk of developing colorectal cancer, and 2.5 times the risk of developing colon cancer, as those in the lowest fourth.
Among nonsmokers, those in the highest fourth of CRP were 2.5 times as likely to develop colorectal cancer, and 3.5 times as likely to develop colon cancer, as those in the lowest fourth.
Those who had taken either aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents within the 48 hours prior to blood draw had a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.
The association of inflammation with colon cancer was unrelated to diabetes, going against the belief that diabetes acts as the mediator between inflammation and cancer risk.
Researchers believe the link between chronic inflammation and colon cancer must be further explored before C-reactive protein is confirmed as a risk predictor.
EurekAlert! February 3, 2004
Colon cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. About 55,000 Americans die from the disease each year. It has been estimated that about 105,500 new cases of colon cancer (49,000 men and 56,500 women) and 42,000 new cases of rectal cancer (23,800 men and 18,200 women) have been diagnosed in 2003. It is also considered one of the most preventable types of cancer, as there are several dietary factors that appear to play a protective role.
Optimizing vitamin D levels is one of them as this has been found to be essential for reducing colon cancer. It is one important nutrient, and the best way to get it is by exposing your skin to sunshine. Virtually everyone in the United States would benefit from taking cod liver oil at this time of year when there is not much sun.
Many of you know that I test vitamin D blood levels on all my patients. I highly encourage and recommend that you have your doctor do this widely available test. At this time of year most people living in the United States do not have optimal levels of vitamin D. It is important to know that not only does this increase your risk for colon cancer, but also your risk of far more common cancers like breast and prostrate cancers.
However, please understand that it is possible to overdose on vitamin D, so in order to ensure that you levels are within the optimal range, you should monitor your blood vitamin D levels.
Here are some more of the main proven preventive courses for colon cancer:
- Fresh raw vegetables
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 fats
- Avoid sugar
- Maintain ideal body weight
- Maintain normal iron levels