and Medicine for Seniors
Going vegetarian offers way for seniors to lower
risk of colorectal cancer
Senior citizens making great progress against this
deadly cancer due to more having colonoscopies
9, 2015 - A good way for seniors to avoid colorectal cancer the number
two cancer killer in the U.S. among cancers is to eat a vegetarian
diet, says a study of Seventh - day Adventist published online by
JAMA Internal Medicine.
Colon cancer incidence rates have dropped 30
percent in the U.S. in the last 10 years among adults 50 and older due
to the widespread increase of colonoscopy, with the largest decrease
being in senior citizens over age 65.
Although great attention has been paid to
screening, primary prevention through lowering risk factors is also an
Dietary factors have previously been identified as
a way to lower the risk factor for colorectal cancer. Eating red meat,
for example, is linked to increased risk. On the other hand, food rich
in dietary fiber is linked to reduced risk, according to the studys
The researchers measured the incidence of
colorectal cancer among those who are some form of vegetarian diet and
or vegan diet and those that were nonvegetarians or nonvegans.
Vegetarians, generally, avoid eating meat, fish or
poultry, although there are variations; for example pollo-vegetarians
eat poultry but not other meats. Vegans do not eat any animal or insect
Among 77,659 study participants, Michael J. Orlich,
M.D., Ph.D., of Loma Linda University, California, and coauthors
identified 380 cases of colon cancer and 110 cases of rectal cancer.
Vegetarians compared with nonvegetarians had a
● 22 percent lower risk for all colorectal
● 19 percent lower risk for colon cancer and
● 29 percent lower risk for rectal cancer.
The risk for colorectal cancer for vegans compared
with nonvegetarians was
16 percent lower.
For lacto-ovo vegetarians (eat milk and eggs) the
risk was 18 percent lower.
The pescovegetarians (eat fish) had 43 percent less
colorectal cancer risk.
The semivegetarians, had an 8 percent lower risk of
If such associations are causal, they may be
important for primary prevention of colorectal cancers.
that vegetarian diets similar to those of our study participants may be
associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, along with prior
evidence of the potential reduced risk of obesity, hypertension,
diabetes and mortality, should be considered carefully in making dietary
choices and in giving dietary guidance, the study concludes.
Support for the research was from grants by the
National Cancer Institute and World Cancer Research Fund.