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Our diet affects the risk of colon cancer
Around 26,000 people die from colon cancer in Germany every year. To protect yourself, you should have regular checkups from a certain age. A healthy diet is also very important. According to scientific studies, this can prevent tumors.
Colon cancer risk is affected by diet
In Germany alone, around 26,000 people die from colon cancer every year. The frequency of this type of cancer increases with age, which is why older people should go for regular checkups. This is especially important if the family has had colon cancer cases. But nutrition is also very important. According to studies, this can influence our risk of colon cancer.
Healthy lifestyle prevents colon cancer
In addition to age and genetic factors, lack of exercise, tobacco and alcohol consumption, malnutrition is also a risk factor for colorectal cancer. In particular, the risk of eating a lot of red meat is repeatedly proven in studies.
In contrast, vegetarians are less likely to get colon cancer, according to a study by researchers at Loma Linda University in California.
According to another study, oily fish also protects against colon cancer, as do nuts. These even have an active effect on colorectal cancer, as study results by nutritionists at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena show.
And a study by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston now showed that a wholesome diet can prevent tumors in the intestine that are associated with certain colon bacteria.
Research with data from almost 140,000 people
As the consumer information service aid reports in a recent release, the data from two studies with a total of more than 137,000 participants were evaluated for the study.
According to the information, the men and women were initially 54 and 46 years old on average and worked in the health sector. They had to provide information on their eating and living habits every two years.
A distinction was made between a high-fiber diet with lots of fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and a western diet with white flour products, sweet desserts, red and processed meat.
The individual intestinal flora is the crucial point
Colon cancer was diagnosed in 1,019 cases during the study period. For every eighth tumor, genes of the Fusobacterium nucleatum could be detected in the tissue. This bacterium is one of hundreds that naturally colonize the human colon.
It has long been known that a high-fiber and whole food diet can lower the risk of colon cancer. However, this relationship is more complicated than expected.
As the scientists explained, the individual intestinal flora is the crucial point. According to the information, subjects with a wholesome diet had a 57 percent lower risk of colon cancer, in which F. nucleatum was detectable. However, the diet had no influence on other tumor diseases in the intestine.
Complex relationships between nutrition and cancer development
The healthy diet probably changes the milieu and the colonization of the colon with microorganisms over a longer period of time, the authors write in the journal "JAMA Oncology".
The intestinal flora becomes more diverse and unwanted bacteria like F. nucleatum are pushed back. Earlier studies had shown that the bacterium is linked to colon cancer and its presence is favored by a western diet.
It probably lowers the body's immune response to the tumor cells and promotes their growth.
However, as the consumer information service aid writes, the relationships between nutrition, certain food groups, microorganisms in the intestine and the development of cancer are so complex that it will be difficult to prove reliable relationships between individual factors.
Only through the combination of many results can the new knowledge in practice help to give individual nutritional recommendations. (ad)