Colon cancer patients can lower their chances of death by eating a diet rich in fibre, a study published in JAMA Oncology has found.
Fibre has been associated with better insulin control and lower levels of inflammation, which may account for better survival, the study team said. In addition, a high-fibre diet may protect people from developing colon cancer in the first place. Read on for more.
Study links a diet rich in fibre to lower chances of colon cancer death
The study was led by Dr Andrew Chan, an associate professor in the department of medicine at Harvard Medical School. To reach their findings, Dr Chan and his team collected data on 1,575 men and women who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. None of the participants had been treated for colon or rectal cancer
that hadn’t spread beyond the colon.
The team specifically looked at total fibre consumption in the six months to four years after the participants’ cancer
diagnosis. They also looked at deaths from colon cancer
and any other cause. In an eight-year period, 773 participants died, including 174 from colorectal cancer. The team found that among people they treated for non-metastatic colon cancer, every 5 g of fibre added to their diet reduced their odds of dying by nearly 25%.
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“What you eat after you’ve been diagnosed may make a difference,” said Dr Chan. “There’s a possibility that increasing your intake of fibre may actually lower the rate of dying from colon cancer and maybe even other causes.”
The greatest benefit was attributed to fibre from whole grains and cereals. Vegetable fibre was linked to an overall reduction in death, but not specifically death from colon cancer, while fibre from fruit wasn’t linked to a reduction in death from any cause.
How to get more fibre in your diet
Dietary fibre is found in plant foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans and nuts. To get more fibre in your diet, have a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole-grain bread for lunch, and snack on roasted edamame or hummus and broccoli florets.
Filling up on fibre won’t only provide protection against colon cancer and death, but also provide a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that boost overall health and stave off other chronic diseases.
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