The New York Times has reported a sharp rise in colorectal cancers in adults as young as their 20s and 30s. Citing a new study from the American Cancer Society that analyzed cancer incidence by birth year, they say that cancer rates have been increasing for every generation born since 1950. Oddly enough, they suggest that experts aren’t sure why.
No doubt there is any number of causes, but isn’t that the point that we should be considering? Shouldn’t we be considering that there are several contributors at this point? I admit that what I am about to provide is strictly speculation, and this by no means should be considered medical advice. However, understanding the cause and effect of the things I am about to list only helps to highlight why some of these might need to be explored as reasons. Consider the following as nothing more than ideas to ponder.
For the average person (non-doctor / non-scientist), simply look at it as an equation. Since we are talking about colorectal cancers, let’s start with the gut itself. We will need to examine things that directly affect the gut and have a history of producing bad outcomes in the gut. We’ll also want to look at what changed in the 1950s and perhaps what has continued.
Let’s start simple. It’s almost comical to note that between 1950 and 1958, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, Church’s Fried Chicken, KFC, Denny’s (as Danny’s Donuts), Burger King (as Insta-Burger King), Sonic Drive-In, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut all opened their doors for business. As we have learned over the years, fast food is usually highly processed and contains large amounts of carbohydrates, added sugar, and unhealthy fats. As a result, they offer little or no nutritional value and impact our gut in negative ways. Add in a large carbonated beverage and you’re giving your body all sorts of issues. Of course… you probably already know this, but what many don’t know is that some of the food served by fast food may cause cancer.
While it might be easy to simply blame fast food, it would be irresponsible to do so. We began the practice of feeding genetically modified corn to animals which end up providing us our consumable beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, etc., back in the early 1950s. Scientists in the 1950s also created the grain called triticale by using colchicine; a chemical that doubles a plant’s chromosomes and the same chemical used to make seedless fruits such as watermelon. So not only have we altered our food supply’s DNA, we have inundated ourselves with chemicals and bad halogens. Does this cause cancer? The science is evidently inconclusive, but there is evidence on both sides of the debate to at least consider it.
Chlorine has been used in drinking water since the early 1900s. This water has been used to bathe in, water our pets as well as our food. The U.S. Public Health Service endorsed water fluoridation in the early 1950s and its use began to spread significantly afterward. Again, we use this to bathe in, water our pets and our food. Never mind the cancer causing or neurotoxic effects of that for a moment, both can affect the balance of microorganisms in your gut and have been linked to different types of cancer. Few really give this much thought. Think about it though. We put this stuff in our water to kill bacteria. Does the killing capability somehow cease once you swallow it? Of course not! Why is this important? Now research offers evidence that the anti-inflammatory ‘health beneficial’ gut bacteria can slow or stop the development of some types of cancer. This means that when you’re killing these bacteria off via consumption, you can set yourself up for cancer.
Speaking of which, in 1951 the FDA approved the first antibiotics for use in the animal feed based on studies showing it helped chickens, pigs and livestock put on extra weight. This should be a big clue for people who can’t lose weight by the way. Anyway, we eventually used them for consumption which means we consumed those antibiotics too. This one (hopefully) doesn’t require a lot of thought, but the negative effects (while slow) are apparent.
Let’s touch on antibiotics since we are on the topic. In the ’50s and ’60s, some of the most widely used antibiotics were created. This includes antibiotics like penicillin G procaine, the first macrolide, tetracycline, vancomycin, methicillin, metronidazole, ampicillin, sulfamethoxazole, the first cephalosporin, doxycycline, the first quinolone, clindamycin, and many more. Of course, these antibiotics directly affect the gut, which I have written about before. Cause and effect; boom… cancer. As I said, these little guys can help prevent some types of cancer. This tells me that the removal or damage of that bacteria can help cancer set up shop too.
Some could blame and would blame vaccines, but we should talk about one in particular for this demonstration. The discovery of SV40 (simian virus 40) revealed that between 1955 and 1963 around 90% of children and 60% of adults in the US were inoculated with SV40-contaminated polio vaccines. We know that viruses can spread from person to person; specifically, via perinatal transmission. This includes viruses such as HIV, Chickenpox, Coxsackievirus, Human T-lymphotropic virus, herpes, and even SV-40. The American Journal of Epidemiology says that “Conceivably, mothers acquiring SV40 infection as a result of vaccination during pregnancy could have transmitted the virus to their children, either in utero or shortly after birth.“
Sure, scientists are reluctant to point the finger at this. The same journal entry also says that such cancers are “unlikely to have been due to SV40 infection“. I don’t know if I agree with that because according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, investigations have consistently demonstrated the oncogenic behavior of SV40 in animal models and that SV40 has been detected in colon cancer tissues in studies beginning back in 2010. Let me point out that “unlikely” is very different from “definitely not“. So who knows how big this problem really is. Chances are we won’t know anytime soon considering the great track record of ethics from the CDC. At the very least, it’s something else to consider.
There is actually quite a bit more that I could list here. It’s not the point. Understand that scientists and officials are going to be seeking a single cause. I am of the opinion that while a single cause may someday have a finger pointed at it, it is evident that there is a decent list of issues that have at least contributed. If you really want to think about it, because all of these have a strong potential of being a contributor, imagine having been affected by all. If all of this truly started in the ’50s and has gotten worse over time, there are plenty of things to start looking into. The irony is that with the exception of the SV-40 contamination, most of these listings have simply gotten worse since the 1950’s and many people are still scratching their heads as to why we are discovering brand new chronic conditions rarely seen before the mid-1900s and why we still haven’t conquered cancer.
Of course, we are seeing a colon cancer problem. I’m merely suggesting that the things we do that adversely impact our colon might be playing a part. Additionally, things that our parents were subject to might be an issue as well, seeing as how we normally inherit our immune systems (gut bacteria) from our mothers.
You might also be interested in my article titled, “Skin Cancer Deaths Among Men Soar – But Why?”
Dr. Robertson is a health researcher and educator, not a physician. The information provided here is not medical advice, a professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or service to you or any other individual. The information provided is for educational and anecdotal purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation, or the advice of your physician or other healthcare providers. Dr. Robertson is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or additional information, services, or product you obtain or utilize. IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CALL 911 OR YOUR PHYSICIAN.