(HealthDay News) — Higher fiber intake after a diagnosis of nonmetastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) is associated with lower CRC-specific and overall mortality, according to a study published online Nov. 2 in JAMA Oncology.

Mingyang Song, M.D., Sc.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues assessed the association of post-diagnostic fiber intake with mortality among 1,575 health care professionals with stage I to III CRC evaluated through the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

The researchers found that over eight years of follow-up, there were 773 deaths, including 174 from CRC. High intake of total fiber after diagnosis was associated with lower mortality. For each 5-g increment in intake per day, the multivariable hazard ratio was 0.78 for CRC-specific mortality and 0.86 for all-cause mortality. Each 5-g/day increase in fiber intake was associated with 18 percent lower CRC-specific mortality and 14 percent lower all-cause mortality for patients who increased their fiber consumption after diagnosis. Cereal fiber was associated with lower CRC-specific and all-cause mortality, while vegetable fiber was associated with lower all-cause mortality but not CRC-specific mortality. Whole grain intake was associated with lower CRC-specific mortality, though the association was attenuated after adjustment for fiber intake.

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“Our findings provide support for the nutritional recommendations of maintaining sufficient fiber intake among CRC survivors,” conclude the authors.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

Abstract/Full Text