Posted on February 5th, 2009 by
The first study evaluated the impact of alcohol and tobacco use on age at colorectal cancer diagnosis.1 Researchers assessed information from more than 160,000 colorectal cancer patients. Alcohol and tobacco use were classified as current, past, or never.
The researchers suggest that in the future, it may be possible to use information about a variety of factors—including alcohol and tobacco use—to individualize colorectal cancer screening guidelines. Optimizing colorectal cancer screening is important because screening can both detect colorectal cancer at an early stage, when it is most curable, and can also prevent colorectal cancer by detecting precancerous colorectal changes.
A second study assessed the impact of fruit and vegetable intake on the risk of developing colorectal polyps.2 Colorectal polyps are small growths within the colon or rectum that are thought to be precursors to cancer. While other dietary factors have been found to influence colorectal cancer risk (high red meat intake, for example, appears to increase risk), the evidence regarding a possible protective role of fruit and vegetable intake has been less consistent.
To evaluate the link between fruit and vegetable intake and colorectal polyps, Researchers affiliated with the Nurses’ Health Study evaluated the link between diet and polyps among more than 34,000 women who had undergone a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy between 1980 and 1998. The study suggested that a diet high in fruit may reduce the risk of developing colorectal polyps:
Coupled with earlier studies that show that physical activity reduces colorectal cancer risk, these studies provide further evidence that healthy lifestyle choices reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer and improve colorectal cancer outcomes.
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