May 18, 2015 | John Paul Catanzaro
Two years ago I applied for a new life insurance plan. Of course, I had to go through the formalities of filling out an extensive questionnaire and having a nurse come by the house to take a bunch of tests, but it wasn’t a big deal. I was told that they would get back to me in a couple of weeks.
Sure enough, two weeks later I got a call from my financial advisor: “John Paul, I hate to say this, but the insurance company did not approve your application. Due to a family history of colon cancer, they require a colonoscopy to be performed in order to make a final decision.”
I had a colonoscopy done in my early thirties. It’s been a while since then (ten years to be exact), so I agreed to have another one.
The procedure went smoothly. The physician said I was clean as a whistle, and my life insurance application was approved.
Why am I telling you this little story?
Well, I have two strikes against me when it comes to colon cancer risk…
Strike 1: My father was 41 years old when he passed away from colon cancer. This is one disease where inheriting a mutated gene from an affected parent can be quite high.
Strike 2: Research suggests that a high consumption of red meat is linked to an increased risk of colon cancer, and I eat a lot of red meat!
In my opinion, the reason that I have not struck out yet is due to a concept known as “epigenetics.” You can read all about epigenetics at this link, but here’s a simple way to look at it: think of your genes as a gun and your environment as the trigger that shoots the gun. So I may indeed have the gene for colon cancer, but my lifestyle keeps the safety on that gun.
And contrary to popular belief, the red meat that I eat almost daily is part of a healthy lifestyle that keeps the gun from being fired. You see, most of the research done in this area involves “garbage” meats, i.e., processed and grain-fed meats that are sure to have numerous toxins, hormones, and chemicals. It makes sense that consuming these foods on a regular basis can increase your chance of colon cancer, or any cancer for that matter. I eat grass-fed meat from healthy, pasture-raised animals.
You may have a genetic predisposition for cancer or any other disease. Here’s my advice: Live a healthy lifestyle and don’t pull the trigger!