Cancer warning: Cooking fish a particular way found to increase the risk of bowel cancer

Chris Evans discusses bowel cancer and Deborah James' death

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The food under the microscope of analysis in this case is fish.

While fish is known to be a strong source of nutrients such omega-3 oils, cooking fish in a certain way can come with its own risks.

That is if fish is char-grilled.

Char-grilling is a method of cooking whereby meat is placed directly over a fuel source such as wood or coal; this fuel source then forms as a crust on top of the meat.

Cancer Fact Finder (CFF) say: “Charring or burning meat, poultry, or fish over high temperatures causes heterocyclic amines (HCAs) to form. These HCAs can cause genetic damage and increase a person’s risk of stomach and colorectal cancers.”

CFF is a new website which applies scientific scrutiny to common claims about cancer risk.

While some people enjoy a char-grilled meal, it does come with some health consequences if indulged in regularly.

CFF say the best ways to reduce one’s risk is to “swap plants for these meats, or avoid charring or burning meat, poultry, or fish”.

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This will act as just one of a number of ways for someone to reduce their risk of bowel cancer; one at the top of many minds after Dame Deborah James passed away earlier this week.

Who was Dame Deborah James?

With a raft of other developing major news stories including the war in Ukraine and cost of living crisis, it would be easy to miss the news.

Dame Deborah was a cancer campaigner and former deputy head; in 2016 she was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer.

Rather than let the cancer tear her life apart, she put her energy into raising awareness of the disease and changing the perceptions of bowel cancer, one she said was the “poo cancer”.

The reason for this is because the colour and regularity with which someone poos can be an indicator of bowel cancer.

If the poo is very dark, tar -ike, this can indicate the presence of bowel cancer.

Furthermore, if someone’s bowel habit isn’t constant, or has changed, this can also indicate bowel cancer; for example if someone moves from having two solid poos a day to three or one watery deposit.

There have been some reported occasions when younger people have experienced bowel cancer and had it dismissed by doctors as irritable bowel syndrome.

One of the messages Dame Deborah tried to get across was how young people were not immune to bowel cancer; she was only in her 30s when diagnosed.

Dame Deborah is survived by her husband Sebastian and their children, Eloise and Hugo.

Other symptoms of the bowel cancer listed by charity Bowel Cancer UK include:
• Unexplained weight loss
• Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
• A pain or lump in the tummy.

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