Colon cancer: Dr Zoe outlines the symptoms to look out for
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The causes of cancer have remained elusive, making the development of a cure difficult. Although the diffusion of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy has significantly improved survival rates, prevention remains the best option. Chokeberries, thanks to their high antioxidant activity, may reduce cancer growth in a short timeframe of 24 hours.
The fruit – also known as aronia berry – is well known for its bitter taste and is grown in some parts of the UK to be used in recipes like pies and smoothies.
But in recent decades, it has caught the attention of medical experts for its potent anticancer agents and phytochemicals.
A report in the journal of Nutrition and Cancer states: “Phytochemicals that are particularly abundant in chokeberries include anthocyanin and phenolic acids.”
Anthocyanin, the pigment that is known to give chokeberry its distinctive deep red and purple colour, can confer protection against diseases such as cancer.
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The cancer-suppressing effects were put down to potent antioxidant activity, which has proven helpful in staving off several types of cancer.
In fact, extracts from the berries were also shown to reduce oxidative stress associated with breast cancer in one 2009 study.
The research, published in the journal Planta Medica, showed that a chokeberry extract could reduce the number of harmful superoxide free radicals in blood samples taken from breast cancer patients.
While a great number of studies have highlighted the ability of anthocyanin to inhibit cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, there is evidence that applying the antioxidants topically can inhibit skin cancer too.
Whether chokeberry confers any protection against skin cancer when applied topically, however, remains to be seen.
According to the website Organic Facts, some antioxidants found in chokeberry:
- Caffeic Acid
Current evidence on the link between chokeberry and cancer may be limited, but it highlights the value of probing the association in more depth.
What’s more, the current proof that chokeberry can reduce the risk of colon cancer does not mean all cancers can be prevented.
Some of the risk factors for cancer, such as getting older or being genetically predisposed to the disease, aren’t modifiable.
According to Cancer Research UK, not smoking, keeping a healthy weight and eating a healthy balanced diet are all important for cancer prevention.
The disease is caused by damage to DNA that builds up over time, and the earlier this damage is spotted, the better the chances of survival.
This is why health practitioners advise anyone with unusual bodily changes, such as lumps, unexplained weight loss, or night sweats, to come forward for inspection before the disease has had a chance to spread.