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Gut bacteria may actually help colon cancer grow

Lana Bandoim's picture

A new study reveals that some gut bacteria may be more dangerous than previously considered because they may be contributing to the growth of colon cancer. The research was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Some gut bacteria are capable of preventing DNA repair and allow for tumors to proliferate.

Disturbing information about gut bacteria

The Wistar Institute reminds people that the gut has an estimated 10 trillion bacteria, and researchers are still trying to identify them. Although some of the bacteria are beneficial, there are dangerous versions that can lead to disease. The human body requires a careful balance of bacteria that is often difficult to achieve and is easily disturbed.

The new research reveals disturbing information about some gut bacteria’s ability to affect DNA repair, so tumors can grow. The bacteria are capable of producing proteins that impair the body’s ability to repair DNA in the intestinal cells, and this creates a dangerous environment that is perfect for colon cancer.

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Possible solutions to fighting colon cancer

The researchers suggest that eliminating some of the bacteria may offer a solution to fighting colon cancer growth, but this is a risky idea that may not work. Unfortunately, science has not been able to identify most of the intestinal bacteria inside the human body and suggesting that the removal of one type may stop cancer is dangerous.

A better solution to the problem may be to find out why dangerous gut bacteria are multiplying and contributing to tumor growth. This may be related to the unique balance of bacteria being disturbed, so finding a way to restore health may be crucial.

Can fiber help prevent colon cancer?

Another study recently suggested that fiber can help prevent colon cancer, but there is an important aspect of the research that ties to the Wistar Institute findings. Fiber is only able to help if the right mixes of gut bacteria are available. Unfortunately, if your body lacks the right bacteria, then eating fiber may do nothing to stop colon cancer.

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