Cancer in the colon or rectum (colorectal cancer) is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Since it used to occur mostly in seniors, it was recommended to start colonoscopy screenings at age 50. Today, however, doctors are starting to see younger people fall victim. So how can you protect yourself again colorectal cancers?
Sadly and shockingly, colonoscopies are not the complete detection imaging method that we might have thought (this does not mean you should not get them). Unfortunately, many people and doctors don’t realize this.
What Do Colonoscopies Do?
Colonoscopies detect growths called polyps. Polyps can be pedunculated, meaning they “hang” down on a stem. This type of polyp is pretty easy to detect.
However, there are also sessile polyps, which are flat (like sheets of saran wrap). They do not have a stalk and are usually unable to be visualized by a colonoscopy. They can even be missed by MRI’s or Cat Scans. To put it simply, they aren’t easy to find and are often overlooked.
So our risk of colorectal cancer is much complex than has been appreciated. Thus, prevention should be at the top of our list, not only detection.
Why are Colon Cancers Becoming More Prevalent in Younger People?
One reason colon cancers are becoming more prevalent in younger people is damage to a gene that controls growth “out of control.” These are called the Wnt genes.
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in 2016 showed that Wnt gene signaling pathway glitches in younger folks appears to be a major issue causing earlier cancers in the colon.
Wnt genes run communications that drive growth, survival, and proliferation of cancer stem cells — colon cancer stem cells, too.
This gene is damaged in many DES children. DES was a drug given to millions of pregnant women for over 30 years. It turned out to be a nasty endocrine disruptor and carcinogen.
I am a DES daughter. While writing one of the breakthrough books on endocrine disruption, Hormone Deception (McGraw-Hill, 2000), I discovered I was a very victim of the endocrine disruption phenomenon I was informing the public about. DES is the model compound to test everyday pollutants to find out if they are endocrine disruptors.
So I have personally battled Wnt gene glitches for many years. This means I have battled many cancers, tumors, and growth out of control.
The Wnt pathway (like many signaling pathways in the body) controls gene transcription — how genetic information is manufactured into proteins. These proteins go on to act as emails sending messages to cells to get them to perform tasks within your body. Cells are soldiers. They have to be told what to do.
Wnt genes are part of the pathway telling cells what to do.
Wnt genes order’s to proteins define almost everything in the ecosystem of the body, from tissue growth to gut, immune, and brain function.
Wnt genes can act as tumor suppressing genes protecting us from cancer.
But they can get damaged.
Wnt genes are damaged by endocrine disrupting compounds (especially from exposures before and during pregnancy). These potential Wnt damaging compounds store in the fat. Eggs from a want-to-be mother are high in fat. Sperm from a soon-to-be father is high in fat. Placentas are high in fat. Mother’s milk is high in fat.
Thus, these Wnt damaging molecules can get passed on to the next generation. This can set the child up for “growth-out-of-control” and cancers when they become young adults.
This is why I believe in a call to Green Pregnancies.
Science based detoxes prior to conception, or more gentle detoxes if already pregnant, make sound sense.
Wnt glitches, my research has shown, can be driven by our toxic environment.
Thus, detoxing prior to the egg and sperm merging is part of protecting your children from colorectal cancer down the road.
Certainly eating cleaner, living cleaner, and practicing endocrine disruption avoidance tactics as much as you can make sense. Below are 4 steps to protect your Wnt genes (I describe a lot more protective call to actions in Hormone Deception, 3rd edition 2016, available on Amazon):
- Don’t microwave food in plastic and then feed this food to your family.
- Do not clean plastic containers, bottles, utensils in the dishwasher as this has repeatedly shown to liberate endocrine disruptors into these products which then get into your family’s food.
- Leave shoes off at the front door as many pollutants are carried in on the bottom of the shoes into your home.
- Regular receptor detoxes several times a year for endocrine disruptor ‘house cleaning.’