DRINKING one can of Coke a day could be feeding bowel tumours – helping the cancer spread faster, experts fear.
They said it could be fuelling the rise in young people being diagnosed with the cancer – the second deadliest form in the UK.
Getty Images – Getty Drinking one can of Coke a day could be feeding bowel tumours, experts claim
Scientists discovered that glucose and fructose – found in most fizzy drinks – accelerated the growth of intestinal tumours on mice.
The experts said that the amount was about the equivalent of drinking around 12 ounces or 340ml of a sugary drink a day.
They said that this could explain apparent correlations found in other studies which showed a tentative link between sugary drinks and bowel cancer.
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and leads to more than 16,000 deaths every year.
Spike in cancer cases
Dr Lewis Cantley, from Cornell University in New York, said the research was prompted after an increase in bowel cancer cases among people under 35 in the US.
He suspected that it could be due to sugar intake and, along with colleagues, fed high-fructose corn syrup to mice that were prone to intestinal cancer.
It was around the equivalent to less than one can of Coke per day for a human, he said.
The tumour was directly eating the sugar… the cancer was using fructose and glucose together to more than double its growth rateDr Lewis CantleyCornell University in New York
Corn syrup is a mix of glucose and fructose and is used to sweeten drinks in the US.
In the UK, cane sugar is more commonly used and has similar proportions of fructose and glucose.’Feeding’ the tumour
Professor Cantley said: “The tumour was directly eating the sugar.
“The scientists found that the cancer was using fructose and glucose together to more than double its growth rate.”
However, scientists warned that this mechanism, reported in Science, had been demonstrated in mice genetically engineered to be prone to cancer, and therefore may not translate into humans.
Michael Skilton from the University of Sydney, who was not involved in the study, said he was impressed by the research and warned it would be a good idea to cut down on sugary drinks.
He told the Times: “High-fructose corn syrup and cane sugar are both strongly linked with obesity, which itself is a strong risk factor for several cancers.
What are the red-flag signs of bowel cancer?The five red-flag symptoms of bowel cancer include:
bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
a change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
pain or a lump in your tummy
Tumours in the bowel typically bleed, which can cause a shortage of red blood cells, known as anaemia. It can cause tiredness and sometimes breathlessness.
In some cases bowel cancer can block the bowel, this is known as a bowel obstruction.
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“Irrespective of whether these sweeteners are having a direct effect on tumour development and growth, people wishing to reduce their likelihood of developing cancer should limit their intake.”
It comes after experts warned that drinking Coke or even Diet Coke could increase your risk of dying young.
Research found that two cans of regular Coke increases the risk of early death from heart disease by a third.
SCREENING FROM 50 IS A NO BRAINER – IT COULD SAVE THOUSANDS OF LIVESTHE Sun’s No Time 2 Lose campaign is calling for bowel cancer screening in England to start at 50 NOT 60.
The move could save more than 4,500 lives a year, experts say.
Bowel cancer is the second deadliest form of the disease, but it can be cured if it’s caught early – or better still prevented.
Caught at stage 1 – the earliest stage – patients have a 97 per cent chance of living for five years or longer.
But catch it at stage 4 – when it’s already spread – and that chance plummets to just seven per cent.
In April, Lauren Backler, whose mum died of the disease at the age of 55, joined forces with The Sun to launch the No Time 2 Lose campaign, also supported by Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer. Donate here.
Lauren delivered a petition to the Department of Health complete with almost 450,000 signatures, to put pressure on the Government to make this vital change – one that could save thousands of lives every year, and the NHS millions.
We all deserve an equal chance to beat this disease, regardless of where we live.
We know bowel cancer is more likely after the age of 50 – so it makes sense to screen from then.
Plus, it’s got to save the NHS money in the long-run, catching the disease before patients need serious and expensive treatments.
It’s a no brainer, thousands of lives are at stake every year.
You can still sign Lauren’s petition to show your support – click HERE to add your signature.
Dr Vasanti Malik says the best option is to ditch fizzy drinks like Diet Coke altogether and stick to water instead
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