People who eat a high-fibre diet or increase their fibre intake after a colon cancer diagnosis may be less likely to die of these tumors than individuals who don’t consume much fibre, a recent study from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston suggests.
The researchers examined data on 1,575 adults diagnosed with colon cancer who completed diet surveys detailing how much fibre they ate. They followed half of the participants for at least 8 years. During that period, 773 people died, including 174 who died of colon and rectal tumors.
High fibre diets were associated with a lower risk of dying. Compared to the lowest fibre intakes, each additional five grams of fibre intake (the amount found in one pear or one0quarter cup of bran cereal) was associated with 22 percent lower odds of death from colorectal cancer during the study.
Changing the diet after the diagnosis to add more fibre was also linked with survival benefits. Each additional five grams of fibre people added to their diets after a colorectal cancer diagnosis was associated with 18 percent lower odds of death from colorectal cancer during the study.
The type of fibre mattered
Cereal fibre and foods high in whole grains were associated with the lowest risk of dying from colorectal cancer.
Each additional 5 grams a day of cereal fibre was linked to 33 percent lower risk of dying from colorectal cancer, the study showed.
Fibre from vegetables wasn’t linked to a significant reduction in death from colon cancer, but each extra 5 grams a day was associated with 17 percent lower chances of death from all causes.
Fruit fiber, meanwhile, didn’t appear to lower death from cancer or other causes.
Risk factors for colorectal cancer
The most important risk factors include family history, personal history of polyps/cancer, certain diseases such as ulcerative colitis, and not getting screened.
Lifestyle choices can also influence risk; diet, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and taking aspirin are tied to a lower colorectal cancer.
Eating a healthy diet that’s high in whole grain foods (e.g., brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain cereals or whole grain bread) and other fibre sources such as vegetables may protect from colorectal cancer and also reduce risk of death among colorectal cancer survivors.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.