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Which foods may increase, and which may lower bowel cancer risk?

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Colorectal cancer is a common cancer type that can lead to poor health outcomes. Research is ongoing about risk factors for colorectal cancer and what people can do to decrease risk.
Data from a recent study found that consuming higher amounts of white bread and alcohol was associated with an increased risk for colorectal cancer.
In contrast, they found that higher intakes of fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese were associated with a decreased risk for colorectal cancer.
Cancer comes in several types that experts still do not fully understand. While cancer research has come a long way, it is still not always clear why some people develop specific types of cancer.

Colorectal cancer is one cancer type that can be severe and sometimes fatal. Experts are still seeking to understand ways that people can decrease their risk of developing colorectal cancer. A study published in Nutrients examined the risk for colorectal cancer related to the intake of certain foods and nutrients.

Analyzing data from over 118,000 participants, researchers found that alcohol and white bread intake were associated with a higher risk for colorectal cancer, while consuming higher amounts of fiber and nutrients like calcium was associated with a decreased risk.

More research will help confirm these findings and potentially lead to guidance in clinical practice.

Bowel cancer: Which foods may be protective?
Researchers of this particular study wanted to understand more about how food and nutrient intake contributed to colorectal cancer. They note that certain foods and nutrients carry a risk that people can modify, making it an important area of research.

To conduct their analysis, they used data from the U.K. Biobank, which provides substantial information. They examined the relationship between 139 foods and nutrients and colorectal cancer risk. They also looked at how this risk interacted with genetic susceptibility to colorectal cancer.

Overall, researchers included 118,210 participants and followed participants for an average of almost 13 years. During the follow-up, there were 1,466 cases of colorectal cancer.

Researchers collected data on food consumption via 24-hour dietary questionnaires. All participants in the analysis completed at least two 24-hour online dietary assessments. They excluded participants who already had colorectal cancer at baseline.

They adjusted the analysis based on several covariates, like education level, family history of colorectal cancer, body mass index, and physical activity levels.

Researchers were also able to create polygenic risk scores for colorectal cancer for participants. Polygenic risk scores help determine someone’s risk for a condition based on their genetics.

They found that participants who developed colorectal cancer were more likely to have certain characteristics. For example, they were more likely to be older, have a higher body mass index (BMI), and engage in lower physical activity levels.

The study also found that white bread and alcohol were both associated with an increased risk for colorectal cancer. However, dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese were all associated with a decreased risk for colorectal cancer.

The study did not find evidence that participants’ genetic background influenced risk related to consumption of nutrients.

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