Colorectal cancer. It is not a pretty word, and it could be coming to a bowel near you. Especially as it is the worlds fourth leading cause of death related to cancer. But wait, there is a avenue of prevention that you have yet to consider.

Cancer is one of those horrible diseases that seems to occur in the more developed aka industrialized countries. At least this variety of cancer that kills the constipated well medicated wealthy. In contrast it's much less common in developing countries, ones with frequent or chronic diarrhoea no less.

It appears that there is a link here, it's not that the backed up poop is poisoning you, though this perhaps is also true. It's because the toxin that causes soupy poop also has an inhibiting effect on the growth of cancer cells in the colon. It could be said in some cases diarrhoea protects against colon cancer.

Diarrhoea often results from E.coli contaminated food or water1. Certain strains of E.coli produce enterotoxins that are secreted into the intestine. These toxins not only cause cramps and violent backfires but also have the added bonus of allowing and excess of calcium to flow into the cells of the intestine, this slows down their growth and so inhibits the spread of tumors.

So next time you have the shits, traveling some unfamiliar country, cursing the food and the poor hygiene, think again, your life expectancy may have increased a fraction.

Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0434905100)

1Death from dehydration is the leading cause of mortality for under five year olds in developing countries. Its also one reason why the average life expectancy is so much lower.