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Colon: the tumor is prevented by fibers

June 1, 2018

What is the best diet to reduce the risk of colon cancer? A recent study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic and published in Jama Oncology suggests that a diet high in fiber, rich in cereals and vegetables, reduces the likelihood of illness. Let’s see why a high intake of fiber reduces the risk of contracting this tumor. We talk about this topic with Professor Antonino Spinelli, Director of the Colorectal Surgery Operative Unit of the Humanitas Clinical Institute and Professor at Humanitas University.


Prevention starts from the table

“It is the third most common cancer in both sexes and the second most common cause of cancer death in the world. New research suggests that the fibers contained in food can not only prevent it, but also help those who have developed it to live longer,” the professor explains.


Researchers analyzed the eating habits and medical records of 1,575 patients with non-metastatic colorectal cancer, determining the specific mortality rate for colorectal cancer and the overall mortality. The results showed that consumption of foods high in fiber was associated with a reduction of 18% in the specific mortality rate for colon cancer and 14% in the overall mortality rate.

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An assumption yet to be explored

The specific reason why fibers protect against colon cancer is not yet known. “One of the reasons is that fibers, by facilitating intestinal transit, reduce the contact time of potential carcinogens with the intestinal walls,” the professor continues. In addition, fibers, an important part of a healthy and balanced diet, would also have anti-inflammatory properties.


5 grams more than usual

According to the study, an increase in fiber consumption of only five grams per day would suffice to bring about a significant reduction in both the overall and specific mortality rates for colon cancer. “This shows how the adoption of healthy dietary habits acts not only as a form of prevention of colon neoplasms, but also after they have manifested themselves, extending their positive action to non neoplastic diseases,” Professor Spinelli concludes. Five grams of fiber per day equals about one bowl of oatmeal.

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