Dietary Fiber and Colon and Rectal Cancer Prevention

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A large new meta-analysis study indicates that a diet rich in whole grain foods significantly decreases colorectal cancer risk



DIETARY FIBER AND COLON AND RECTAL CANCER PREVENTION

For many years, it was widely believed that a diet rich in fiber, and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables in particular, significantly reduced the risk of developing colorectal cancer.  However, more recent public health studies have called this assumption into question.  As I extensively discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, there is ample clinical evidence that a so-called Mediterranean diet, which does include large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables (as well as foods rich in unprocessed whole grains), dramatically reduces the risk of colorectal cancer and other GI tract cancers.  Now, a landmark new meta-analysis research study provides important new evidence that certain high-fiber foods may, indeed, be associated with a significantly reduced risk of colorectal cancer.  This comprehensive research study appears in the current issue of the British Medical Journal.

In this huge meta-analysis, 25 prospectively conducted public health studies, including 14,500 study volunteers, were analyzed; and the findings of this large clinical study may explain why recent large public health studies have not been able to confirm that a diet rich in all types of fiber can reduce colorectal cancer risk.  In this meta-analysis study, dietary fiber from fruit and vegetable intake did not appear to significantly reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.  However, whole grain foods, including cereals rich in whole grains, did appear to significantly reduce colorectal cancer risk.  In fact, for each 10 grams of whole grain fiber consumed per day, colorectal cancer risk was reduced by a very significant 10 percent.  Among research volunteers who consumed at least three servings of whole grains each day, the risk of developing colorectal cancer was reduced by 17 percent.

The health implications of this meta-analysis study are highly significant.  First of all, the authors of this study included only prospectively conducted public health studies in their analysis, thus eliminating some of the major limitations associated with the more common retrospective “case control” studies that make up the majority of public health studies on diet and disease prevention.  (As I have often mentioned, retrospective case control and case series studies are very often flawed by “recall bias,” wherein the data that is collected is based purely upon the recollections of volunteers recruited into such studies.)  Secondly, the findings of this meta-analysis are supported by higher level research studies that have found that highly refined grains and cereals are stripped of important cancer-preventing nutrients and bulk fiber during processing.

While fresh fruits and vegetables (and brightly colored and dark green leafy vegetables in particular) have been shown by other studies to reduce overall cancer risk, this landmark meta-analysis study appears to reconcile the contradictory findings of previous cancer prevention studies regarding the impact of dietary fiber intake on, specifically, colorectal cancer risk.  Based upon the findings of this very important study, a diet rich in unprocessed, or minimally, processed, whole grain foods appears to significantly protect against colorectal cancer.  (For a much broader and deeper review of evidence-based approaches to cancer prevention, see my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.)


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

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I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Diet and Lifestyle Habits that Decrease Colorectal Cancer Risk

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



DIET AND LIFESTYLE HABITS THAT

DECREASE COLORECTAL CANCER RISK

In the United States, approximately 106,000 people will be newly diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2010, and nearly 50,000 people will die of this disease.  Colorectal cancer remains the third most common cancer (excluding skin cancer) in both men and women, and the third most common cause of cancer death in men and women.  Unlike many other types of cancer, an effective method of screening for colorectal cancer is available, in the form of colonoscopy.  Fortunately, the incidence of this cancer has been gradually declining over the past 20 years, due in great part to the early detection, and removal, of precancerous polyps from the colon and rectum at the time of colonoscopy.

The links between specific lifestyle choices and the risk of developing certain types of cancer forms much of the basis of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.”  The risk of developing colorectal cancer, in particular, has been strongly linked to multiple dietary and other lifestyle factors.  Now, a newly published public health research study from Denmark puts a number on the effectiveness of commonly recommended cancer prevention lifestyle strategies in preventing colorectal cancer.

In this study, which appears in the current issue of the British Medical Journal, 55,487 men and women between the ages of 50 and 64 were prospectively followed for an average of 10 years.  Each of these Diet, Cancer and Health Cohort Study volunteers completed validated surveys regarding their social status, health status, reproductive history, and daily lifestyle habits.  They also completed a food frequency questionnaire that included, among its 193 items, foods known to be associated with colorectal cancer risk (including alcohol).  All study participants also underwent physical examinations that included measurements of their height, weight, and waist circumference.  During the course of this large prospective public health study, 678 participants were newly diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

All study volunteers were assessed in terms of 5 modifiable lifestyle and dietary factors that have repeatedly been linked to a reduction in colorectal cancer risk:  Increased levels of regular physical activity, avoidance of obesity, abstention from tobacco use, minimal intake of alcohol, and the observance of healthy diet habits (including increased fiber intake, decreased dietary fat content, decreased red meat and processed meat consumption, and increased fresh fruit and vegetable intake).  Based upon only these 5 simple colorectal cancer risk factors, the adoption of any one of these 5 colorectal cancer prevention factors was associated with a 13 percent decrease in the risk of developing colorectal cancer.  Among participants who generally observed all 5 lifestyle and dietary prevention factors, the risk of developing colorectal cancer was reduced by 23 percent.  (Of note, while this observed reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer was noted for both colon cancer and rectal cancer, this finding was only statistically significant for cancer of the colon, specifically.)

The results of this large prospectively conducted public health study reaffirm the findings of previous studies, in that the risk of colorectal cancer can be significantly reduced by: Engaging in regular moderate exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding tobacco use, minimizing alcohol consumption, and by reducing the intake of red meat and processed meats and fat, while simultaneously increasing the consumption of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and whole grain foods.  For a more detailed evidence-based guide to colorectal cancer prevention, order or download your copy of “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race” now.  

 

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For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer, and other types of cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!



Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link: 

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (As of 9/16/2010, more than 1,000,000 health-conscious people have logged onto Weekly Health Update so far this year!)  As always, I enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 

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