People who eat fatty foods are at risk of developing early Barrett’s oesophagus, a precursor condition to oesophageal cancer.
People who eat fatty foods are at risk of developing early Barrett’s oesophagus, a precursor condition to oesophageal cancer.

Why fatty foods put you at risk of fast-killing cancer

PEOPLE who eat foods full of fat over a prolonged period are at risk of a fast-killing cancer that is growing in prevalence.

New QIMR Berghofer research indicates that the high-fat diet could induce early Barrett's oesophagus, a precursor condition to oesophageal cancer.

Barrett's oesophagus occurs when cells that line the oesophagus change as it heals from chronic reflux.

Obesity and excessive tummy fat are known to increase risk of Barrett's oesophagus, which in turn increases the risk of oesophageal adenocarcinoma, a highly fatal type of cancer that affects the digestive tract just above the stomach.

People who eat fatty foods are at risk of developing early Barrett’s oesophagus, a precursor condition to oesophageal cancer.
People who eat fatty foods are at risk of developing early Barrett’s oesophagus, a precursor condition to oesophageal cancer.

Lead researcher and head of QIMR Berghofer's Precision & Systems Biomedicine Laboratory, Associate Professor Michelle Hill, said her team found most mice fed a chronic high-fat diet developed changes in the cellular fat molecules of their oesophagus tissues that then began to develop into Barrett's oesophagus.

"This research is important because patients with Barrett's oesophagus are 10 times more likely to develop oesophageal adenocarcinoma, which is one of the most rapidly increasing cancers in Western populations," Associate Professor Hill said.

"If we can understand how cellular fat changes causes this precancerous condition, we have a better chance of finding ways to prevent adenocarcinoma, which claims the lives of most patients within a year of diagnosis."

Originally published as Why fatty foods put you at risk of fast-killing cancer



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