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Healthful Eating

Food Choices and Cancer

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According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is affecting younger and younger people. Almost 30% of new diagnoses are for people under the age of 50, meaning that someone born in 1990 has twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer than someone born 40 years earlier. Read this article from the  American Cancer Society.

1. Write a short paragraph as to why we are seeing this increase in colorectal cancer.

Please follow your teacher's instructions on how to submit your answers!


Because colorectal cancer is a digestive cancer, that means the foods we eat can significantly influence our risk of colorectal cancer. The World Health Organization has classified processed meats - such as bacon and hot dogs - as Group 1 carcinogens. 

Other cancer-causing substances in Group 1 category include tobacco, because of its link to lung cancer. The WHO also classifies red meat (which is any meat that comes from a mammal) as a Group 2A carcinogen. Please read the WHO’s Q&A and this article from the American Cancer Society for further information.

2. Based off what you have learned so far, answer the following questions:

a. What surprised you about what you learned?

b. How often do you eat processed and red meats?

Please follow your teacher's instructions on how to submit your answers!

There are foods that can actually help reduce our risk of colorectal cancer. Read this Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine article and watch the “Processed Meat Linked to Colorectal Cancer” video below the article to learn more about those foods.

As you learned in the article, fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes are high in fiber and other protective nutrients. Fiber is not only important for preventing chronic diseases such as colorectal cancer, but it is also important for our daily digestive health. Fiber is found only in whole plant foods and is not found in animal products.


For your assessment, cite several steps you can take to minimize your risk of colorectal cancer. In addition, keep a food journal for one week. At the end of the week, write a reflection on how you made health-promoting food choices and what additional changes you can make to further improve your chance of optimal health.

Please follow your teacher's instructions on how to submit your work!

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