Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
Background: Most of the previous studies on diet and colorectal cancer were based on diets consumed during the 1990s.
Methods: We used Cox-regression models to estimate adjusted hazard ratios for colorectal cancer by dietary factors in the UK Biobank study. Men and women aged 40-69 years at recruitment (2006-10) reported their diet on a short food-frequency questionnaire (n = 475 581). Dietary intakes were re-measured in a large sub-sample (n = 175 402) who completed an online 24-hour dietary assessment during follow-up. Trends in risk across the baseline categories were calculated by assigning re-measured intakes to allow for measurement error and changes in intake over time.
Results: During an average of 5.7 years of follow-up, 2609 cases of colorectal cancer occurred. Participants who reported consuming an average of 76 g/day of red and processed meat compared with 21 g/day had a 20% [95% confidence interval (CI): 4-37] higher risk of colorectal cancer. Participants in the highest fifth of intake of fibre from bread and breakfast cereals had a 14% (95% CI: 2-24) lower risk of colorectal cancer. Alcohol was associated with an 8% (95% CI: 4-12) higher risk per 10 g/day higher intake. Fish, poultry, cheese, fruit, vegetables, tea and coffee were not associated with colorectal-cancer risk.
Conclusions: Consumption of red and processed meat at an average level of 76 g/d that meets the current UK government recommendation (≤90 g/day) was associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Alcohol was also associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, whereas fibre from bread and breakfast cereals was associated with a reduced risk.
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