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Maturitas. 2015 Mar;80(3):258-64. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2014.12.017. Epub 2015 Jan 9.

Diet and colorectal cancer.

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Department of Medical Oncology, Hospital La Zarzuela, Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:
Department of Medical Oncology, Hospital La Zarzuela, Madrid, Spain.



Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common diagnosed cancer in men and the second in women. Dietary factors and lifestyle may contribute to the increasing CRC incidence, making these issues interesting for both the general population and the medical oncology community.


The aim of this report is to present a review of the published epidemiologic research to date reflecting the most current scientific evidence related to diet and CRC risk.


EMBASE and PubMed-NCBI were searched for relevant articles up to November 2014 that identified potential interactions between foods or dietary patterns and CRC risk.


Obesity increases the risk of CRC by 19%. Regular physical activity reduces this risk by 24%. CRC risk derived from red meat intake is influenced by both total intake and its frequency. Fish consumption may decrease CRC risk by 12% whereas garlic intake is not significantly associated with reduced CRC risk. Intakes of more than 20g/day of fiber are associated with a 25% reduction of CRC risk and 525mL/day of milk reduces colon cancer risk by 26% in men. Moderate amounts of alcohol (25-30g/day) increase CRC risk.


CRC is a preventable disease through the modification of associated risk factors, including physical inactivity, obesity and overweight, excessive meat intake, smoking and alcoholic beverage consumption. Nonetheless, epidemiological evidence in this regard is not conclusive so further research is warranted.


Colorectal cancer; Diet; Epidemiology; Lifestyle; Risk factors

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