Colorectal Cancer and Coronary Artery Disease
A landmark study was released in Jama last week that showed a strong correlation between colon cancer and blockage in the coronary (heart) arteries. It is becoming known that colon cancer and Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) have the same environmental risk factors. Diabetes, smoking, hyperlipidemia, sedentary lifestyle, high-fat, low fiber diet and hypertension are significant health hazards world wide.
This study did colon cancer screening (colonoscopy) on over 600 patients. The three groups studied were:
General population (control group),
People with no CAD and
People who had Coronary Artery Disease.
The researchers found 34% of patients in the CAD positive group had colon cancer. In the age and sex matched general population, only 21% had a colorectal cancer. And only 18% of patients without CAD had a colon neoplasm.
This is a remarkable finding. Both colorectal cancer and CAD probably develop from chronic inflammation. Inflammation is now being recognized as an important cause of atherosclerosis (CAD) and colon cancer.
We have much to learn about what causes inflammation and how to prevent it. Until we have the evidence, I recommend a daily low dose aspirin, absolutely no smoking and Omega 3 FFA supplements along with oatmeal for breakfast. Stay tuned for more scientific breakthroughs as we learn more about inflammation and its affect on the body.