He just turned 17 but the doctor has just diagnosed him with a stage 4 pancreatic cancer. At first, Xiao Lu was just like other typical teenagers; he went to the school in the morning, played football with his friends in the afternoon and enjoyed playing video games during his leisure times. However, there was one habit that he never thought would lead to his cancer.
According to his father, Xiao Lu loved eating grilled and barbecued foods to the point where he had them every single day.
Well-done burgers, charred hot dogs, and barbecued wings were his favorites. He often had them
Unfortunately, his poor diet had caused him several health conditions. He began to have problems with his bowel movement and frequent belly and back pain.
However, Xiao Lu did not think that it was serious so he just took some medicine to relieve his pain.
Soon, he began to develop jaundice and an itchy skin. Once, when he went to the toilet, he realised that his urine was darker as the urine became brown in colour.
As symptom after symptom began to develop, Xiao Lu could no longer afford to ignore them so he went to the hospital. That was when the doctor told him that he had pancreatic cancer and that his cancer had already reached stage 4
Upon knowing the news, his mother could not hold her tears. She was aware that Xiao Lu might not be as active as other people as he loved spending time playing video games but she was confused on why her son was diagnosed with cancer when there was no one in their family had cancer before.
It turned out that Xiao Lu’s diet which consisted of processed foods, grilled and barbecued meat became the culprit of his cancer. According to the doctor, the blackened areas on charred and grilled foods are the main source of carcinogens called heterocyclic amines (HCA), substances that can promote the formation of cancer. These carcinogens directly damage DNA and can initiate the mutations of our cells which leads to cancer
The highest levels of HCAs are found in grilled poultry, steaks, salmons grilled with the skin, well-done hamburgers and barbecued pork and ribs. Diet with high levels of HCAs can lead to cancers of pancreas, colon, digestive tract
So, although grilled and barbecued foods are generally healthy than deep-fried foods, try to minimise your intake on them and eat more fresh vegetables and fruits. For other alternatives, opt for steamed, poached or stewed foods.
This does not mean that grilled and barbecued foods are completely bad but it might be better that you eat everything in moderation to avoid any risks of cancers and digestive problems.