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High fiber intake in colorectal cancer associated with improved survival

High fiber intake in colorectal cancer associated with improved survival

High fiber intake after diagnosis of colorectal cancer is associated with improved survival, according to a study in JAMA Oncology.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer and third leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The number of CRC survivors is estimated to exceed 1.4 million in 2016 and expected to grow over the coming decades due to early detection and treatment. Many cancer survivors are motivated to seek self-care strategies, particularly dietary counseling, to facilitate their treatment and recovery. However, due to lack of data on post-diagnostic diet and CRC survival, most dietary recommendations for CRC survivors are primarily based on incidence studies. Therefore, identifying prognostic dietary factors is needed to improve CRC survivorship.

In this prospective cohort study, researchers examined nearly 1600 U.S. healthcare professionals who were diagnosed with stage I–III colorectal cancer and completed food-frequency questionnaires at least 6 months post-diagnosis. During a median 8 years’ follow-up, about half the cohort died, with nearly a quarter of deaths due to colorectal cancer.

After multivariable adjustment, each 5-g increment in fiber intake per day was associated with a 22% decrease in colorectal cancer mortality and a 14% decrease in all-cause mortality. When the change in fiber intake before and after diagnosis was assessed, each 5-g increase in intake after diagnosis was associated with similar reductions in colorectal cancer and overall mortality. Fiber from cereals appeared particularly protective.

The authors concluded: Higher fiber intake after the diagnosis of nonmetastatic CRC is associated with lower CRC-specific and overall mortality and Increasing fiber consumption after diagnosis may confer additional benefits to patients with [colorectal cancer].

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