at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report that women who have
a parent or sibling with colon cancer can markedly lower their
own risk by taking a daily multivitamin that includes folic
acid and limiting their intake of alcohol.
analyzed information on 88,758 female registered nurses whose
family health histories and dietary habits were recorded as
part of the Nurses' Health Study, a project which has been
tracking the health of nurses in the United States for more
than 25 years.
Fuchs reported in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers
and Prevention that reduced the risk of colon cancer: a diet
high in folic acid, high in methionine [an essential amino
acid], and low in alcohol intake.
appeared that either a high-folate diet or use of folate-containing
multivitamins virtually eliminated the excess risk of colon
cancer associated with a family history of the disease,"
of folate tracked in the study -- 400 micrograms a day --
can be easily achieved by taking a multivitamin, Fuchs said.
of alcohol consumption that appeared to increase the risk
associated with a family history of colon cancer was drinking
more than two glasses of wine per day.
said the findings around methionine were more complicated,
since high amounts also may be associated with the "hardening
of the arteries" that can lead to heart attacks. As a
result, dieticians do not recommend taking methionine supplements.
all the study participants were women, Fuchs said there is
no reason to think the results do not apply to men.
Cancer Week of March 17, 2002