Summary and Insight: Animal Origin Foods and Colorectal Cancer Risk Essay

Summary and Insight: Animal Origin Foods and Colorectal Cancer Risk

            In the context of human health as well as areas of anatomy and physiology, it is definitely arguable that the development of diseases or abnormalities in the digestive system is among the greatest concerns. The study accomplished by Lee and colleagues in 2009 attempts to draw further understanding regarding the interconnection between such a problem, colorectal cancer in particular, and consuming animal derived food. In accomplishing such a study, a suitable amount of samples or respondents has been considered. Specifically, information from more than 70,000 women throughout China has been gathered for analysis, with the main method of inquiry being in the form of a questionnaire (Lee et al., 2009). Of course, given such an encompassing scope of respondents, a myriad of important and interesting findings have been acquired which pertains to the amount, variant, as well as preparation of food commonly consumed.

            To further expound, the study highlighted that the relative amount of food ingested, whether of meat or fish,  does not necessarily entail a heightened risk of developing colorectal cancer; however, it has been determined that certain variants such as eel, shrimp, as well as shellfish potentially increase the risk of acquiring the aforementioned disease (Lee et al., 2009). In addition to these findings, the study also emphasized the implications of consuming milk and eggs, which definitely differ. In cases where in an excessive consumption of eggs have been noted, the resulting cholesterol increase also further increases colorectal cancer risk; in contrast, drinking milk has been found out to have the opposite effect (Lee et al., 2009). As noted beforehand, even aspects such as preparation and cooking methods have been taken into account throughout the study. In this sense, of the different cooking practices in China, only smoking has been established to have detrimental effects to one’s colon (Lee et al., 2009). Indeed, such findings imply that there is an irrefutable connection between a meat-based diet and colorectal cancer risk.

            While the article is without doubt focused upon disease development and nutrition, it also emphasizes the connection between physiology and diet. It is not difficult to realize and accept that the keeping human anatomy and physiology at its optimal state rely upon a myriad of factors. Hence, research or studies, such as the one summarized above, are vital in the pursuit of gaining additional and more in-depth understanding of such factors. Alterations, abnormalities, and other unwanted occurrences in the human body may indeed be influenced by the most basic activities such as eating, no matter how harmless such an activity may seem. In relation to this, the concept of homeostasis in the human body may serve as a means of maintaining balance seems to be of relevance to point out. Specifically, even though the body has its own mechanisms to eliminate what is in excess in order to maintain a suitable balance, there are cases where in even such a capability may partly fail or be compromised causing health concerns; a few examples being atherosclerosis and cancer (Clark, 2005).

            Hence, in order to further put such findings from the study into use particularly in the context of anatomy and physiology, it would be necessary for other scientists and scholars to aim for a more encompassing understanding of disease development in the digestive system. Not only is it essential to define the food variants as well as the means of preparation which may induce increased risks of colorectal cancer, it is also vital to gain detailed insights into the mechanism of how such factors result in detrimental alterations or changes in the aforesaid region of human anatomy. As with every other scientific endeavor, especially in a subject as complex as colorectal cancer, it is only understandable that practical information and applications may not be immediately garnered. However, if an optimistic outlook would be maintained throughout the pursuit, the resulting applications may soon be not merely practical in nature but instead may be life saving for those who are no longer at risk but have actually acquired one of the most alarming diseases in today’s society.


Clark, R.K. (2005). Anatomy and Physiology: Understanding the Human Body. Sudbury,          MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Lee, S., Shu, X.O., Yang, G., Li., H., Gao, Y., ; Zheng, W. (2009). Animal Origin Foods         and Colorectal Cancer Risk: A Report from the Shanghai Women’s Health Study.           Nutrition and Cancer, 61(2), 194 – 205.