Colorectal cancer: lifestyle and dietary factors

Nutr Hosp. Jul-Aug 2005;20(4):235-41.


Introduction: Colorectal cancer is the most common tumor in the developed countries, and the number of new cases annualy is aproximately equal for men and women. Several environmental factors can interact in all steps of carcinogenesis. Lately the balance between genetic predisposition and these factors, including nutritional components and lifestyle behaviors, determines individual susceptibility to develop colorectal cancer. The aim of this study is to revise the references about lifestyle include diet, physical exercise, tobacco smoking and use of alcohol, and the risk of colorectal cancer in databases published during 1994-2004.

Dietary factors: According to the reports high intake of red meat, and particularly of processed meat and positive energetic balance (high intake of total fat and carbohydrate) was associated with a moderate but significant increase in colorectal cancer risk. Convincing preventive factors include increase consumption of a wide variety of fruit and vegetable, particularly, dark-green leafy, cruciferous, a deep-yellow on tones, and fibre.

Lifestyle: Physical activity as a means for the primary prevention of colorectal cancer. There is a probable synergic effect among physical inactivity, high energy intake and obesity and incidence of colorectal cancer. A growing body of evidence supports that avoidance overweight and the use of tobacco and alcohol is recommended to prevent colorectal cancer.

Conclusion: Current data suggest that lifestyle modification including proper diet such as the ones rich in vegetable and poor in red meat and fat, regular physical activity and maintaining an appropriate body weight and avoiding the use of tobacco and alcohol may lead to reduce colorectal cancer risk.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Humans
  • Life Style*