Diet and Colorectal Cancer Risk

vegetables1.jpgTaking steps prevent, detect, and treat colorectal cancer is vital for seniors. Thanks to recent awareness efforts, increasing numbers of people are having colonoscopies to screen for this type of cancer, which is the sec​ond biggest cause of cancer death among U.S. patients, and the number of colorectal cancer deaths in the U.S. has begun to decline.


Diet has always been considered a factor in the development of colorectal cancer, and individuals at risk are advised to take special care to eat healthily. A new study supports the idea that diet may impact colorectal cancer.

Entitled "Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and the Risk of Colorectal Cancers" and published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the study examined the dietary patterns of a large group of people and then looked at the incidence of colorectal cancer in that group. It found that those participants who ate some form of vegetarian diet had lowered risk of colorectal cancer.

There are, of course, considerable variations in what is considered a vegetarian diet. For example, those whose diets exclude any kind of animal product, such as milk or eggs, are considered vegan. Those who eat fish but no other form of meat are considered pescovegetarians.


After examining those who regularly followed a vegetarian diet of any kind, researchers determined that a vegetarian dietary regimen is associated with a 22% overall lower risk of developing any colorectal cancer. More specifically, a vegetarian diet is associated with a 19% lower risk of colon cancer and a 29% lower risk of rectal cancer.

These numbers are significant, but they become even more interesting when one looks at the differences between various forms of vegetarian diets and decreased risk of colorectal cancers. The results of this study found that the risk was 16% lower for vegans than for non-vegetarians. For vegetarians who ate milk and eggs, the risk was 18% lower, and for vegetarians who included fish in their diets, the risk was 43% lower than it was for non-vegetarians.

This study adds to the knowledge of the relationship between dietary factors and colorectal cancer. Individuals considering making changes in their diets should consult with a doctor first in order to determine the best option.

Related Article:
Colonoscopy Alternatives - ​​ ​


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