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Laxative Type Might Influence Colon Cancer Risk: Study

Update Date: Oct 09, 2014 08:10 AM EDT

A type of laxative a person takes might be a factor in their odds for colon cancer, according to a new study. 

The study found that fiber-based laxatives are associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, while non-fiber laxatives are linked with a higher risk. 

The study only shows an association between laxative types and colon cancer risk which does not prove cause-and-effect. Experts hence stressed that more study was needed. 

However, the findings are still significant because 20 percent of Americans use laxatives. 

According to researchers, non-fiber laxatives are the most widely used in the United States and work by forcing the colon to contract. 

The new study involved data on more than 75,000 adults of age 50-76, in Washington state, the press release added. 

Researchers found that people who used fiber-based laxatives at least four days a week for four years were 56 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who didn't use them. 

"I was just surprised to see such a strong association between laxative use and colorectal cancer risk. I didn't expect the results to be as strong as they were," lead researcher Jessica Citronberg, a predoctoral fellow at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said in a Hutchinson news release.

The study is published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 

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