Patients with colorectal cancer can decrease their risk of disease-related mortality by 54% if they consume certain types of food, according to a study presented at Digestive Disease Week (May 6-9, 2017; Chicago, IL; abstract 82).
Survivors of colorectal cancer comprise 9% of all cancer survivors in the US. Previous data suggest that high fiber intake helps protect against the incidence of colorectal cancer among the general population. However, the effects of a high fiber-intake diet among survivors of colorectal cancer has yet to be studied.
Mingyang Song, MD, ScD, Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues conducted a study to assess the correlation between fiber intake and a decreased risk of colorectal cancer-related mortality. Researchers evaluated 1487 patients from the Nurses’ Health Study (1980-2012) and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1986-2012) who completed a validated food frequency questionnaire at least 12 months after diagnosis. Prospective intake of total fiber was assessed for a median of 10-years follow-up. Researchers examined intake from different food sources in relation to colorectal cancer-specific and overall mortality.
Results of the analysis showed that high fiber intake after diagnosis was associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer-related mortality (P = .04) and all-cause mortality (P = .01). Patients with the highest fiber intake had a 54% lower risk of disease-related mortality (HR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.24-0.87) and a 28% lower risk of all-cause mortality (HR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.54-0.96) compared with the patients who consumed the least amount of fiber.
Additionally, researchers determined that vegetable fiber was the optimal food source for lowering risk of disease-related mortality and all-cause mortality. Fruit and cereal fiber was not clinically associated with lower risk of mortality.
“We found a higher intake of fiber after the diagnosis of colorectal cancer minimizes the risk of colorectal cancer-specific and all-cause mortality. Our findings provide us with recommendations for maintaining sufficient fiber intake in all colon cancer survivors,” Dr Song commented in a press release (May 6, 2017).
Researchers note that the American Dietary Guidelines-recommended minimum of 25 grams of fiber per day is an achievable goal for improving patients’ prognosis. — Zachary Bessette