Carbs- linked to colon cancer?

food pyramid

food pyramid

Recent information posted in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows a link between a high carbohydrate diet and an increased risk of colon cancer recurrence.  The study was designed to assess the effects of glycemic load and total carb intake on the survival rate of stage 3 colon cancer patients.

What they found was diet plays a role in colon cancer prognosis.  Cancer patients whose diet consisted of complex sugars and carbohydrate rich foods had an increased risk of cancer recurrence and death.

“We have growing body of data that diet and lifestyle likely matter in colon cancer patients and should be discussed as potential considerations in their overall care,” according to Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, lead author of the study.

Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as saying “all carbs are bad” and that we should avoid them; different carbohydrates and sugars have different effects on the body, according to Meyerhardt.  They still recommend a well-balanced diet, focusing on foods that don’t cause a blood sugar spike.

Why is this important to you and me?  The study focused on post-cancer diagnosis.  However, they assert that the research “cannot exclude the possibility that individuals with these dietary exposures acquire tumors that are biologically more aggressive.”  Meaning that these same dietary factors may have contributed to the spread of the cancerous cells in the first place.

Further studies are needed to confirm initial results, but indications show that diet is important to colon cancer survival.


NY Times

Cancer Network

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