Bowel Cancer and Diet
Bowel cancer is the most common form of cancer in Australia claiming 5,000 lives every year.
A recent European study into colorectal cancer has shown that doubling the consumption of cereals, fruit and vegetables can almost halve the risk of bowel cancer amongst people who have a low fibre diet. New research findings suggest that two thirds to three quarters of bowel cancers might be preventable.
The risk of bowel cancer starts at the age of 40 and doubles each decade over the age of 50. With 12 % of the population age 65 and over and increasing, it is important to address bowel health. It is particularly important to have regular checks if you have a family history of bowel cancer.
How to reduce the risk of bowel cancer:
Mechanisms that may protect against bowel cancer include:
Recent studies have shown that Australians are not eating the recommended 30 grams of fibre a day.
Aim for at least 30 grams a day
High Fibre Counter
|Bread per slice||Flour, Pasta per 100g|
|White 25g||0.7||Flour, white||3.5|
|*Soy Linseed 40g||2.2||Pasta, white||Negl|
|Crispbread, each Rye, Whole-wheat||1.0||Wholemeal - cooked||1.5|
|Others, average||1.5||Pasta, white - cooked||Negl|
|Breakfast Cereals, per 30g||Fruit (fresh)|
|All-Bran type -1/3 cup||9.0||Apple, 1 medium||4.5|
|Fibre Plus - 1/3 cup||4.5||Avocado, ½ medium||3.0|
|*Sustain - ½ cup||2.0||Banana, 1 medium||3.0|
|Weeties||3.0||Fruit salad, 100g||1.5|
|Bran-Bix each||3.5||Grapefruit, ½ medium||2.7|
|Vita-Brits, 1 biscuit||2.0||Orange, 1 medium||3.8|
|Weetbix, 1 biscuit||1.5||Peach, 1 medium||1.5|
|Cornflakes||1.0||Pear, 1 medium||3.0|
|Nutrigrain||1.1||Rockmelon, 1 cup||2.0|
|Extra G||2.0||Tomato, 1 medium||1.5|
|*Sultana Bran - 2/3 cup||4.5||Watermelon, 1 cup||0.5|
|Bran Flakes - ¾ cup||5.7||Fruit (canned ½ cup)||1.2|
|Guardian - 1 cup||6.4||Fruit (dried 30g)||4.0|
|Muesli av 30g||8.0||Fruit Juice||Negl|
|Unprocessed Bran -1 Tab 6g||2.5||Vegetables per 100g|
|Wheat Germ - 1 tab, 8g||1.5||Average over ½ cup||3.0|
|Porridge - 1 cup, 250g||4.0||Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce||7.3|
|Nuts/Seeds average 30g||3.0|
* = High roughage
Foods With Negligible Fibre
Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs
Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese, Ice-cream, Cream, Fats, Oils, Butter, Margarine
Water, Tea, Coffee, Soft Drinks, Fruit Juices, Beer, Wine, Alcohol, Cocoa, Milo, Ovaltine
All except those with fruit, nuts, oats
The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating says that depending on age and requirement we should include the following quantities each day of breads, cereals, vegetables and fruits:
Breads, cereals, rice, pasta and noodles
We should eat 3 to 12 sample serves of breads, cereals, rice, pasta and noodles per day. These foods will provide carbohydrates protein, fibre and a wide range of vitamins and minerals including folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and iron. Whole meal or wholegrain varieties provide more fibre, vitamins and mineral. Some foods in this group may have fibre, vitamins and minerals added during processing.
One sample serve is:
|2 slices of bread|
|1 medium bread roll|
|1 cup cooked rice, pasta noodles|
|1 cup porridge, 1 1/3 cup breakfast cereal flakes or ½ cup muesli|
Vegetables and legumes
We should eat 2 to 9 sample serves of vegetables and or legumes depending on age and requirement. Vegetables are a good source of vitamins, mineral, dietary fibre and carbohydrate. Capsicum, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and tomatoes are high in vitamin C. Dark green and orange vegetables like spinach, broccoli, carrots, and pumpkin are high in vitamin A. Green vegetables, dried peas, beans and lentils are a good source of folate. Most vegetables are good sources of many vitamins. It has been suggested that a diet that includes vegetable rich in vitamins A and C, together with vegetable like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts for the cruciferous family, can help to prevent certain types of cancer such as of the colon.
One sample serve of vegetables and legumes is:
|½ cup vegetables or 75 grams|
|½ cup dried beans, peas or lentils or 75 grams|
|1 cup salad vegetables|
Fruit and Vegetables
We should eat 1 to 5 samples serves of fruit every day according to requirement
Fruit is a good source of vitamins, including vitamin C and folate. It also provides carbohydrates, in particular natural sugars and fibre, especially in the edible skins. Juice is low in fibre.
One sample serve of fruit is:
|1 medium piece, eg apple, banana, orange, pear|
|2 small pieces, eg apricots, kiwi fruit, plums|
|1 cup diced pieces or canned fruit|
|½ cup fruit juice|
|dried fruit eg 4 dried apricot halves or 1½ tablespoons sultanas|
Eating a well balanced diet high in fruit and vegetables, breads and cereals will reduce the risk of bowel cancer by helping to maintain a healthy bowel. Regular check-ups are still very important. We can reduce the risk of bowel cancer in Australia with better diet.
Added to site on : Monday, 3 November 2003