Fiber to fight colorectal cancer

fiber to fight colorectal cancer

According to a new study, published in the journal, JAMA Oncology, increase in intake of fiber can help patients to survive through colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer starts in colon or rectum and it is one of the major death-causing cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society (ACS) predicts nearly 95,000 new cases for colon cancer and 39,000 new cases for rectal cancer for the year 2017. The expected deaths from this cancer is approximately 50,000.

Research suggests that intake of fiber-rich diet may prevent the formation of colorectal cancer. But, the question that remains unanswered is how would be beneficial to those, who are already suffering from this disease.

Relation between colorectal cancer and fiber intake:


The present study collated data from 1500 subjects, who were a part of Nurses’ Health Study or the Health Professionals Study. The subjects are individuals, who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in its various stages. To conduct this study, participants were made to complete questionnaires regarding food frequency. This questionnaire was used to calculate total intake of whole grains and fibers from individual sources.

The study was conducted over a period of 8 years. During the period, 773 deaths occurred, of which 174 deaths were due to colorectal cancer. It was found that patients, who consumed fiber and whole grain consistently, were less likely to die from colorectal cancer as against those, who did not consume fiber and whole grains.

Consumption of 5 gm fiber found related to 22% reduction in chances of death due to colorectal cancer. Further, increasing the whole grain intake by 20 gm resulted in 28% decrease in deaths due to colorectal cancer.

Cereal fiber is probably the best choice:

Among various sources of fiber, it was established by the researchers that fiber from cereals is the most beneficial one. Increasing the intake of cereal fiber by 5 gm resulted in 33 percent reduction in deaths due to colorectal cancer. The results also indicated that vegetable fiber and fruit fiber did not have any impact on deaths due to colorectal cancer.

The study was conducted by Dr. Chan of Massachusetts General Hospital. According to him, since the intake of fiber and whole grains was self-reported by the participants, there was a probability of several errors in the study; thus, this study has some limitations. Moreover, future studies and clinical trials are needed to validate this study.

With this, it can be concluded that increasing consumption of fiber and whole grain, in case of colorectal cancer, could reduce risk of death due to this disease.