Fiber-based laxatives associated with decreased risk for developing colorectal cancer

the ONA take:

According to a new study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, have found that the particular type of laxative a person uses may be associated with varying risks for developing colon cancer.

The researchers found that fiber-containing laxatives are linked with a lower risk for developing colon cancer, compared with non-fiber laxatives are associated with an increased risk for developing the disease.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from over 75,000 adults aged 50 to 76 from western Washington. They found that adults who took fiber-containing laxatives at least 4 days a week for 4 years were 56% less likely to develop colorectal cancer compared with people who did not use laxatives. On the other hand, people who took non-fiber laxatives at least five times a year had nearly a 50% increased risk for developing colorectal cancer compared with those who did not use them.

The researchers suggest that fiber-based laxatives may provide a similar benefit to that of dietary fiber by promoting healthy bacteria growth and diluting amounts of carcinogenic agents in the stool.

Fiber-based laxatives associated with decreased risk for developing colorectal cancer
Type of laxative a person uses may be associated with varying risks for developing colon cancer.

A new study suggests that the type of laxative a person takes might be a factor in their odds for colon cancer. The research indicates that fiber-based laxatives are associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, while non-fiber laxatives are linked with a higher risk. The study could only show an association between laxative types and colon cancer risk, it could not prove cause-and-effect, and experts stress that more study is needed.

Still, the researchers believe the findings are important because about 20 percent of Americans use laxatives.

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