Your diet and your risk for cancer

By: Alison Harmelin, CBS News Email
By: Alison Harmelin, CBS News Email

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The most comprehensive study on colorectal cancer ever published has just been released and shows your diet could be risking your life.

Daniel Foster was 45 years old when he received a terrifying diagnosis.

"I was told I had rectal cancer," he said.

Daniel wondered if his diet was to blame.

"I always had bad eating habits. I weighed 240 pounds," he said.

A new report shows that when it comes to colorectal cancer -- a bad diet can be the enemy -- specifically eating red meats like beef, pork and lamb.

"If you eat 7 ounces of red meat a day, your risk of colorectal cancer is 34% higher than someone who does not eat any red meat at all," said Dr. Richard l. Whelan, who works at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital.

The American Cancer Research Institute study also says there's convincing evidence that eating fiber rich foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans will significantly lower your chances of colorectal cancer. Limiting alcohol and regular exercise will also make a difference.

"I added more fiber to my diet. I do walking. I go bicycle riding. I love to go fishing," Daniel said.

After treatment, surgery and lifestyle changes, he's been cancer-free for 15 years.

Nearly 150,000 americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year and researchers say 45% are preventable.

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