Study Highlights Link between Diet and Colorectal Cancer


Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the article stresses the “importance of diet quality as a potentially modifiable tool to improve prognosis among men and women with colorectal cancer”. A plan focused on “high intakes of plant foods and low intakes of animal products before and after CRC [colorectal cancer] diagnosis are associated with longer survival”.

Testing was based on scoring participants according to recommendations from the American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention. These include having a high variety of fruits and vegetables, at least five servings per day, choosing whole grains over refined grains, and limiting red or processed meat consumption.

This was the first look into how dietary quality can influence pre- and post-diagnosis of the disease. Out of the 1.2 million participants enrolled in the Cancer Prevention Study-II Nutrition Cohort, there were 2.801 cases of nonmetastatic colorectal cancer. Those with the highest ACS scores pre-diagnosis had a 22% lower risk for all-cause mortality. Similarly, high ACS scores post-diagnosis and prudent diets were associated with lower all-cause mortality, leading to 21%, 38%, and 28% lower risk.

Consistently observed inverse associations suggest that prognosis may improve with better post-diagnosis diet, even when prediagnosis diet quality was relatively low. These results were supported further in post-diagnostic models that identified statistically significant associations between diet quality and mortality that were independent of prediagnosis diet quality”.

The results confirm dietary recommendations offered for some time now by doctors and reveal how nutrition can influence disease prevention, management, and general outcome.

Collectively, the results from all dietary patterns suggest that consumption of a diet high in plant products and fiber while limiting red and processed meat and added sugars both before and after diagnosis may be beneficial”.

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