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LMU – 03 Diet and Colon Cancer Risk


LMU 03 - Diet and Colon Cancer Risk

Source: Journal – Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery, Nov., 2009

Lifestyle Medicine Update (March 16, 2016)

Over many years, studies have shown that only 5-10% of colo-rectal cancer cases result from inherited, genetic mutations.

Up to 70% of colo-rectal cancer appears to be preventable via improved dietary practices alone.

The key dietary strategies linked to increased risk of colo-rectal cancer include:

  • High animal fat foods, and especially red meat (beef) products.
  • Low intake of fruits and vegetables.
  • Low intake of dietary fiber.
  • Regular alcohol consumption.

Other lifestyle factors increasing risk include:

  • Lack of regular exercise.
  • Being overweight.
  • Cigarette Smoking.

Early Detection is Also Critical

Unless there is a family history of colo-rectal cancer or a personal history of previous colon polyps (adenomas), or an inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colits) most doctors encourage screening for colon cancer starting at age 50. This is an important part of preventing death from colo-rectal cancer as it usually takes 5-10 years for polyps to progress to a malignant state. These polyps can be removed during a colonoscopy screening before they are able to cause any life-threatening consequences.


Haggar, F.A., Boushey, R.P., Colorectal cancer epidemiology: Incidence, mortality, survival and risk factors. Clinical Colon-Rectal Surg., 2009 Nov; 22(4): 191–197.

Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.