In recent years, the consumption of over-the-counter probiotics to promote health has grown rapidly worldwide. In medicine, various studies demonstrated probiotics to help improve the immune system and intestinal health. In cancer patients, the feasibility of probiotic management providing benefits by targeting cancer and lessening anti-cancer side effects requires further investigation.
What is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer occurs in the large intestine. It usually begins as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called polyps that form on the inside of the colon. Over time some of these polyps can become colon cancers. This cancer typically affects older adults, though it can happen at any age.
Signs and symptoms of this cancer may include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Weakness or fatigue
- A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
- Persistent abdominal discomforts such as pain, gas, or cramps
- Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
- A persistent change in your bowel habits
Several people with this kind of cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. When symptoms occur, they may vary depending on the size of cancer and the location in your large intestine.
Risk Factors for Colon Cancer
- Older age. This cancer can be diagnosed at any age, but a majority of people diagnosed with it are older than 50. The rates of this cancer in people younger than 50 have been increasing, but doctors aren’t sure why.
- Family history of colon cancer. You’re more likely to develop this cancer if you have a blood relative who has had the disease. If more than one family member has colon cancer or rectal cancer, your risk is even greater.
- Smoking. People who smoke may have an increased risk of developing this cancer.
- Alcohol. Heavy use of alcohol increases your risk of colon cancer.
- Radiation therapy for cancer. Radiation therapy directed at the abdomen to treat previous cancers increases the risk of this cancer.
- Low-fiber, high-fat diet. Colon cancer and rectal cancer may be associated with a typical Western diet, which is low in fiber and high in fat and calories. Research in this area has had mixed results. Some studies have found an increased risk of colon cancer in people who eat diets high in red meat and processed meat.
- A sedentary lifestyle. Inactive people are more likely to develop colon cancer. Getting regular physical activity may reduce your risk of colon cancer.
- Diabetes. People with diabetes or insulin resistance have an increased risk of colon cancer.
- Obesity. People who are obese have an increased risk of colon cancer and an increased risk of dying from this cancer when compared with people considered normal weight.
How do Probiotics help In The Treatment and Prevention Of Colon Cancer?
The microbiome is a complex, intricate ecosystem of microorganisms in the gut. It contains up to 100 trillion bacteria in the gut and more than 4 pounds of microbes. Bacteria can be good or bad, but it’s the balance of good and bad bacteria that keeps us healthy. Both probiotics and antibiotics can disturb the delicate balance of our little friends in the gut. Research suggests that some types of probiotics can help keep these gut microbes in check, but not only that they can also lower your risk of developing this cancer.
According to a Japanese study, consumption of probiotics alone or in combination with prebiotics may help prevent colorectal cancer in healthy adults, but the results may vary.
There are several specific microbes that researchers frequently associate with colon cancer development:
- Fusobacterium nucleatum
- Enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis
- Escherichia coli ( coli)
An overabundance of these types of bacteria may raise an individual’s risk for colon cancer. Others may play a positive role through their function in the gut microbiome, such as the digestion of dietary fiber, or prebiotics. Certain Clostridium and Faecalibacterium species produce molecules that mediate, inhibit, and prevent colon cancer carcinogenesis.
Certain probiotics can promote and preserve friendly bacteria in your gut. Certain probiotics, crafted just for you based on your gut microflora test, will support you and your unique health needs along your gut health journey. Choose your probiotics wisely!