A POPULAR drink ‘doubles’ the risk of bowel cancer in adults who have more than two per day, a study has found.
It is the second deadliest form of the disease in the UK – and those guzzling certain beverages could be putting themselves in danger of developing the condition.
Bowel cancer, which kills 16,000 Brits a year, starts in the large intestines and it mostly develops from pre-cancerous growths, called polyps.
Not all will turn cancerous, but if your doctor finds any, they will tend to remove them to prevent cancer.
But, if caught early it can be cured – and leading a healthy lifestyle can make a huge difference on your chances of getting it.
Research published in the journal Gut revealed a link between sugar-sweetened drinks and the deadly disease.
It found adults, especially women, supping on two or more to quench their thirst each day are “doubling” the risk of bowel cancer before the age of 50.
Soft drinks, fruit flavored drinks and sports and energy drinks all pose a significant threat, the study found.
But what have other studies said about lowering bowel cancer risk?
In November 2022, experts revealed that eating a healthy veggie diet could slash your bowel cancer risk by a fifth – but only if you’re a man.
Around 43,000 Britons get the disease every year, making it one of the most common tumor types.
Half of cases could be avoided with better health, say experts, with swapping meat for vegetables and grains an easy win.
Scientists at Kyung Hee University in South Korea found colorectal cancer was 22 per cent less likely in men who ate the most fruit and veg, compared to those eating the least.
Cancer Research UK estimates 54 per cent of bowel cancer cases – 23,000 per year – could be prevented by healthier lifestyles.
Another paper, published in 2020, found that foods high in folate, magnesium and dairy products could all help stave off the second deadliest cancer.
What are the red flag warning signs of bowel cancer?
IT’S the fourth most common cancer in the UK, the second deadliest – yet bowel cancer can be cured, if you catch it early enough, Cancer Research UK states.
While screening is one way of ensuring early diagnosis, there are things everyone can do to reduce their risk of the deadly disease.
Being aware of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer, spotting any changes and checking with your GP can prove a life-saver.
If you notice any of the signs, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them. Doctors are used to seeing lots of patients with bowel problems.
The five red flag symptoms of bowel cancer include:
- Bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
- A change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
- Pain or a lump in your tummy
- Extreme tiredness
- losing weight
Tumors in the bowel typically bleed, which can cause a shortage of red blood cells, known as anemia. It can cause tiredness and sometimes breathlessness.
In some cases bowel cancer can block the bowel, this is known as a bowel obstruction.
Other signs include:
- Gripping pains in the abdomen
- Feeling bloated
- Constipation and being unable to pass wind
- Being sick
- Feeling like you need to strain – like doing a number two – but after you’ve been to the loo
While these are all signs to watch out for, experts warn the most serious is noticing blood in your stools.
But, they warn it can prove tricky for doctors to diagnose the disease, because in most cases these symptoms will be a sign of a less serious disease.
The researchers combed through data and reviews of the cancer, as well as clinical and observational studies that assessed the impact of diet and medicinal factors when it comes to developing bowel cancer.
The medicinal factors included: aspirin; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as paracetamol; and statins.
Looking at the dietary factors and this included vitamins or supplements (magnesium, calcium, folic acid, vitamins A, B, C, E, D, β-carotene and selenium); coffee; tea; fish and omega 3 fatty acids; dairy products; fiber; fruits and vegetables; meat; and alcohol.
In 2018, experts found that everyday medications like supplements and aspirin could help protect against bowel cancer.
“The seAFood Trial demonstrates that both aspirin and EPA have preventative effects, which is particularly exciting given that they are both relatively cheap and safe compounds to give to patients,” said the study’s lead author, Prof. Mark Hull, from the University of Leeds.
“Given this new evidence, clinicians need to consider these agents for patients at elevated risk of bowel cancer, alongside regular colonoscopy surveillance.”
In 2019, at the First Hospital of China Medical University found eating just 44g of allium vegetables each day can reduce the risk of developing the killer disease.