New Colon Cancer Risk Factors Found
In the first study, researchers reported that high levels of a protein measured through blood tests could be a sign that patients are at higher risk of colon cancer. The study linked high levels of circulating C-reactive protein (CRP) to a higher risk of colon cancer.
The article explains that low-grade inflammation in the body causes protein levels to rise. Dr. Gong Yang, research associate professor at Vanderbilt University, and colleagues studied 338 cases of colorectal cancer among participants in the Shanghai Women's Health Study, and compared them to 451 women without the disease. "Elevated CRP levels may be considered as a risk marker, but not necessarily a cause, for the carcinogenic process of colon cancer," Dr. Yang said in an AACR news release.
The second study, done on African-Americans, found that a common germ -- the bacteria Helicobacter pylori -- boosts the risk of colorectal polyps (abnormal tissue growths in the colon that often become cancerous). "Not everyone gets sick from H. pylori infection, and there is a legitimate concern about overusing antibiotics to treat it," said Dr. Duane T. Smoot, chief of the gastrointestinal division at Howard University, in a statement. "However, the majority of the time these polyps will become cancerous if not removed, so we need to screen for the bacteria and treat it as a possible cancer prevention strategy."
Both studies are slated to be presented at the American Association for Cancer