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Grain Fiber May Lower Risk of Small Intestine Cancer

Those with highest quintile of intake had roughly half the risk compared to those with lowest intake

TUESDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A diet higher in fiber from grains may be protective against small intestine cancer, according to research published in the October issue of Gastroenterology.

Arthur Schatzkin, M.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from 492,321 participants, aged 50 to 71, in a National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health study. Participants reported dietary habits at baseline, and over an average of seven years of follow-up; 165 developed cancer of the small intestine.

Fiber from grains was associated with a lower risk of cancer, with a relative risk in the fifth versus the first quintile of intake of 0.51, the researchers found. The fifth quintile corresponded to 8.4 grams or more per day, and the first quintile corresponded to less than 3.7 grams per day. Fruit and vegetable fiber intake wasn't associated with cancer risk, the report indicates.

"Grain fiber and whole grain foods could affect pathophysiologic processes common to carcinogenesis within both the small and large intestines. Investigators have proposed several mechanisms by which dietary fiber can protect against colorectal cancer. These include (a) stool bulking; (b) decreased transit time (both a and b result in less contact between potential carcinogens and mucosal surface); (c) bile acid and carcinogen binding; and (d) short chain fatty acid, especially butyrate, production via fermentation (butyrate has anticarcinogenic properties)," the authors write.

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