Eating nuts could improve colon cancer outcomes

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Patients with stage III colon cancer who consumed nuts regularly may have a significantly lower likelihood of cancer recurrence and mortality, a new observational study suggests. The findings will be presented at the upcoming 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Researchers analysed post-chemotherapy questionnaires from a clinical trial of patients with stage III colon cancer, which enquired about dietary intake including nut consumption.

Individuals who consumed ≥2 ounces of all types of nuts per wk had a 42% lower likelihood of cancer recurrence and 57% lower likelihood of mortality, compared with those who did not consume nuts after cancer treatment. The effects were most pronounced for tree nuts, whereas peanuts or peanut butter had no significant effects on reduction of recurrence or mortality.

Nuts have been known to reduce the incidence of conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, which are possibly associated with a higher risk for recurrence and death from colon cancer.

The authors warn that nut consumption should not be considered a substitute for standard chemotherapy and other treatments for colon cancer. "The encouraging findings of this study support further evaluation of nut consumption in improving survival at other stages of colon cancer, especially stage IV," the authors added.