Vegetarian Diet Lowers Colorectal Cancer Risks

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Vegetables and Fruits
IN PHOTO: Food intake is one of the manageable risk factors in preventing colorectal cancer. A study on the diet of Seventh Day Adventist church members aims to support the correlation between vegetarian dietary patterns and the occurrence of colorectal cancer. Fresh fruit and vegetables are seen in this undated file photo. Credit: Reuters/Newscom

Food intake is one of the manageable risk factors in preventing colorectal cancer.  A study on the diet of Seventh Day Adventist church members aims to support the correlation between vegetarian dietary patterns and the occurrence of colorectal cancer. Researchers from Loma Linda University were able to demonstrate how vegetarianism helps reduce the development of colon and rectal problems.

The team was able to identify 380 individuals with colon cancer and 110 with rectal cancer among 77,659 participants of a cohort study. Colorectal cancer risk was 22 percent lower in vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians. Rectal cancer risk was 29 percent lower and colon cancer was also lower by 19 percent.  The pescovegetarians or those who eat fish had the highest bowel cancer risk reduction of 43 percent. Next are the ovolactovegetarians with 18 percent less risk, followed by the vegans with 16 percent, and the semi-vegetarians with 8 percent lower risk.

Findings in this research, published online in the Journal of American Medical Association, substantiate previous evidence of vegetarian diets reducing the risk of colorectal cancer and common bowel disorders.  The link between vegetarianism and incidence of colorectal adenoma in Asians was also investigated in a study among Buddhist monks.  Results suggest that vegetarianism protects the colon and rectum from tumour growths.  

A diet of foods rich in fibre, colourful fruits and vegetables, was also proved to lessen the risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, obesity, breast and ovarian cancers.  The correlations presented may be considered in health advisories that encourage the public to ensure consumption of fibre rich foods in the daily diet. Many people fail to ensure having the recommended amount of fibre in their daily diet.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and second in women worldwide. The Global Cancer Report states it has affected 1,360,000 individuals as of 2012 and cases are predicted to rise by 2.4 million by 2035. CRC is more prevalent in developed countries than in developing regions.  Funding support for the Loma Linda University research was granted by the National Cancer Institute and the World Cancer Research Fund.

 

To contact the writer, email: jm_panganiban@hotmail.com

For Added Information on Vegetarian Diet and Colorectal Cancer:

 Fruit, Vegetables, Dietary Fiber, and Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Diet and risk of diverticular disease in Oxford cohort of European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC): prospective study of British vegetarians and non-vegetarians

Diet and risk of diverticular disease

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