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Colon cancer: Could yogurt prevent precancerous growths?

New observational research indicates an association 

Estimates from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) indicate that there will be 145,600 new cases of colorectal cancer in the United States in 2019.

The NCI also note that around 4.2% of adults will receive a colorectal cancer diagnosis during their lifetime.

Although many factors can contribute to a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer, one of the most prominent ones is a poor diet.

By the same token, however, following a healthful diet may help keep this form of cancer at bay.

It remains unclear as to which dietary factors are most helpful in protecting people from colorectal cancer. For this reason, recent studies have started by investigating the association between different foods and the risk of tumors or precancerous growths.

The latter, called “adenomas,” are growths that are usually benign; however, some of these have the potential to develop into malign, or harmful, tumors.

Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, and many collaborating institutions have now found a link between a reduced risk of adenomas in men and a high consumption of yogurt. These results appear in the BMJ journal Gut.

19% lower risk for men who eat yogurt

“[Some researchers have] underscored the urgent need to identify new modifiable factors for colorectal adenomas, [and a] few studies reported that higher yogurt intake may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, potentially mediated by the gut microbiome.”

“However, no study has yet evaluated the association between yogurt intake and precursors of [colorectal cancer],” the study authors explain in the introduction of their paper.

To investigate the link between yogurt consumption and the risk of developing precancerous bowel growths, first study author Xiaobin Zheng and colleagues analyzed information concerning diets and adenoma formation in the case of 32,606 men and 55,743 women.

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