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Colon Cancer Risk Lower for Vegetarians

Vegetarians may have a lower risk of colorectal cancer than meat-eaters, a new study concludes. Eating fish, but not meat, may reduce the risk even more, the study said. The study focused on more than 77,000 adults. They were part of a long-term health study. In 7 years of follow-up, 380 cases of colon cancer and 110 cases of rectal cancer were diagnosed. About half of those in the study ate meat at least weekly. The others were divided into 4 groups. Semi-vegetarians ate meat, but less than once a week. Pescatarians ate fish but no other meats. Lacto-ovo vegetarians ate eggs and dairy products, but not meat. Vegans also did not eat eggs or dairy. On average, these 4 groups had a 22% lower risk of colon or rectal cancer than non-vegetarians. Pescatarians had a 43% reduction in risk. Risk was 16% lower for vegans and 18% lower for lacto-ovo vegetarians.

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