Add colon cancer to list for trans fat concerns

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.; September 10, 2008

A team at the University of North Carolina has found that type of fat not only raises the risk of heart disease it could raise the risk of colorectal cancer by as much as 86-percent.

The study followed more than 600 volunteers who underwent colonoscopies between 2001 and 2002, and found a significant increase in the risk of colon cancer among those who ate the most trans fats.

In tests, researchers discovered more abnormal cell growth in the colon and rectum of those consuming more of the partially hydrogenated trans fats. Those cell changes can be a harbinger of future cancer.

Trans fat is usually not in food naturally but the vast majority are from hydrogenated shortening used in processed foods. They have been used extensively over the past 20 years because they increase the shelf life and flavor stability of processed foods. They are found in solid shortening, margarine, baked goods, and fried foods, among others.

Colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancers in the United States. About 150,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, almost evenly split between men & women.

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