Colorectal cancer is specifically stated as the third most diagnosed form of cancer in the United states (US) for both genders. According to the American Cancer society in 2018 it is estimated a staggering 50,630 deaths will occur. Primarily, colorectal cancer being a leading cause of mortality not only in the US but worldwide has encouraged a lot of research in place to eradicate this uncontrollable cell division in the bowel. There are numerous factors to prevent such a vicious disease however diet is mentioned to be an extensive key component. Consequently, the Adventist Health Study 2 (AHS-2) investigated the major contributing factor diet in relation to the diagnosis of colorectal cancer. This is evident in an article named ” Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and the Risk of Colorectal Cancers.”
The longitudinal study recruited around 96,354 participants of both genders across the US but the analytical sample size ended up to 77 659 participants over 25’s. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate how four vegetarian dietary patterns compared to non vegetarians affect the diagnosis of deadly colorectal cancer through questionnaires conducted for 12 years. Biennially, questionnaires were distributed to the participants compiled with questions about the number of times a list of food mentioned was eaten and whether they had received a cancer diagnosis. Comparatively, the responses were allocated into one of five dietary patterns( vegans, peso-vegetarians, semi- vegetarian vegan and non vegetarians) plus the answers were checked with the information from cancer register linkages.
The analysis of four vegetarian dietary patterns were combined compared with the non vegetarians. An average follow up for 7.3 years established 490 incidences of bowel cancer. Researchers reported that vegetarians had lower intake of red meat, saturated fat but higher consumption of fibre in comparison to non- vegetarians. Thus, leading to higher chance of survival. Colonoscopy to detect bowel cancer was less likely to happen to vegetarians mainly vegans hence less risk of developing bowel cancer. Researchers associate this due to less intake of red meat. It is suggested to be the main reason for a reduced risk of colorectal cancer in vegetarians combined with a high intake of legumes. In addition, hypersinsulinemia is also an increased risk which seemed to not affect vegetraians due to their diet. Vegetarians were reported to have eaten less added fats, sweets compared to non-vegetarians.Levant et al suggested a high intake of animal protein is related to insulin growth factors which also increases the risk of colorectal cancer.
Other confounding variables were considered such as age, sex, or previous family members who may have suffered from the disease.
A cox proportional hazards regression model was then established to determine the relationship between being a vegetarian and the likelihood of developing colorectal cancer. This statistical technique compared dietary patterns with the other covariates.Results showed vegetarian dietary patterns with a hazard ratio HR of 0.78 95% compared to non vegetarians with an HR of 1.00 95% demonstrating vegetarians as less likely to die from colorectal cancer.
It can be concluded that a vegetarian diet (mainly pesco-vegetarians) can reduce the risk for developing colorectal cancer. Specifically not eating red meat benefits vegetarians of preventing themselves of such a monstrous disease. However early detection through screenings ensure almost 90% survival rate which can be a benefit to all. It is one step ahead of beating cancer than cancer killing us.