Americans can reduce their risk of the second most common cancer, colon cancer, by consuming more fruits, vegetables and grains, the American Cancer Society has reported.
The study found that women and men who ate few servings of fruits, grains and vegetables were at two to three times greater risk of dying from the disease than those who consumed more of these foods.
"These findings support recommendations that increased consumption of vegetables and grains may reduce the risk of fatal colon cancer," the study said. The findings were reported Tuesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Colon cancer is the second most prevalent form of cancer, ranking just behind lung cancer. This year, 110,000 Americans will be diagnosed with the disease and 51,000 will die.
Doctors have long suspected that the high rate of colon cancer in the United States and other industrialized countries is linked to dietary habits.
In Japan and other countries where less meat is eaten either due to choice or cost, colon cancer is rare.
The study also reflected previously reported information that regular use of low doses of aspirin reduced the risk of fatal colon cancer by 50 percent.
Dr. Michael Thun of the American Cancer Society who conducted the study said, "There is a growing and fairly strong body of evidence that a diet rich in vegetables, grains and fruits is beneficial for general health. The evidence for health is remarkable."
Thun said the study could not answer the question of how much of these foods would be enough to protect against disease.