Vegetarian diet lowers colon cancer risk

Vegetarian diet lowers colon cancer risk

Eating a vegetarian diet lowers colon cancer risk compared to a non-vegetarian diet, according to new research from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates 49,700 colon cancer deaths in the U.S. in the year 2015.

Screening for colon cancer has become of increasing importance, but prevention through controlling risk factors is still a key objective.

Diet is an important factor for preventing colon cancer. Red meat is linked to an increased risk, while foods rich in fiber lower the risk of colon cancer.

Among the 77,659 study participants, there were 380 cases of colon cancer and 110 rectal cancer cases.

Compared to non-vegetarians, vegetarians had a 22 percent lower risk of all colorectal cancers:

Vegetarians had a 19 percent lower for colon cancer
Vegetarians had a 29 percent lower risk for rectal cancer
Vegans had a 16 percent lower risk for all colorectal cancers
Vegetarians who don’t eat milk and eggs had an 18 percent less risk
Pesco-vegetarians (eat fish) had a 43 percent less risk
Semi-vegetarians had an 8 percent less risk

“If such associations are causal, they may be important for primary prevention of colorectal cancers. … The evidence that vegetarian diets similar to those of our study participants may be associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, along with prior evidence of the potential reduced risk of obesity, hypertension, diabetes and mortality, should be considered carefully in making dietary choices and in giving dietary guidance,” the study authors conclude.

The study showing that a vegetarian diet lowers colon cancer risk was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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1. “Vegetarian Diet Linked to Lower Risk of Colorectal Cancers.” For the Media JAMA. JAMA, 9 Mar. 2015. Web. 09 Mar. 2015.
2. “Vegetarian Diet and Risk of Colorectal Cancers.” JAMA Internal Medicine. JAMA Network, 9 Mar. 2015. Web. 09 Mar. 2015.
3. “Colon Cancer Statistics.” Colon Cancer Alliance. Colon Cancer Alliance, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
4. “What Are the Key Statistics about Colorectal Cancer?American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2015.
5. “Fiber and Colon Cancer: Following the Scientific Trail.” Harvard School of Public Health. Harvard School of Public Health, n.d. Web. 9 Mar. 2015.
6. “Red Meat and Colon Cancer.” Harvard Health Publications. Harvard Medical School, 1 Sept. 2005. Web. 09 Mar. 2015.

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