Have you ever wondered why eating healthy foods like multi-grain breads, seeds and leafy green vegetables lowers your risk for colon cancer? A research team from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston believes that they know the answer to this question.
Fusobacterium nucleatum, one of hundreds of types of bacteria found in the large intestine, seems to play a role in colon cancer. Dr. Shuji Ogino of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute was a co-senior author of a study that tracked the diets of more than 137,000 people for decades and examined more than 1,000 colon tumor samples. The study was published online Jan. 26 in the journal JAMA Oncology.
The team found that people who ate a diet high in whole grains and fiber had a lower risk of colon cancer containing Fusobacterium nucleatum, but not for colon cancer without this type of bacteria. According to Dr. Andrew Chan, the other co-senior author of the study, this is some of the first data that links diet and the bacteria in colon cells. Previous studies suggested that gut bacteria could cause cancer in animals, but this study offers new evidence showing that bacteria in the intestines can influence cancer development in humans.
Dr. Chan admits that more research needs to be done to “explore the complex interrelationship between what someone eats, the microorganisms in their gut, and the development of cancer.” Dr. Ogino agrees, but he is encouraged by this monumental finding. He said, "Though our research dealt with only one type of bacteria, it points to a much broader phenomenon -- that intestinal bacteria can act in concert with diet to reduce or increase the risk of certain types of colorectal cancer" (Source: UPI).