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Snack Food Could Raise Risk of Cancer in People With Lynch Syndrome

Update Date: Dec 17, 2012 08:16 AM EST

A new study has found that eating a lot of snack foods raises the risk of cancer in people who have an inborn susceptibility to colorectal and other cancers.

According to the study, these people with a risk of Lynch Syndrome may lower their risk by eating fewer snacks.

People who inherit Lynch syndrome have high risks of developing colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, and other cancers at an early age, Medical Xpress reports.

Although many studies have been conducted before to examine the link between certain foods and the risk of colorectal cancer, there is now a general consensus among researchers about the risk posed by red and processed meats and alcohol consumption.

For the current study, researcher Akke Botma, PhD, MSc, of the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and her colleagues collected dietary information of 486 individuals with Lynch syndrome. Out of the participants, 58 were detected with colorectal polyps (precancerous lesions).

"We saw that Lynch syndrome patients who had an eating pattern with higher intakes of snack foods-like fast food snacks, chips, or fried snacks-were twice as likely to develop these polyps as Lynch syndrome patients having a pattern with lower intakes of snack foods," said Dr. Botma.

The findings of the study suggest an association between certain dietary patterns and the development of polyps in individuals with Lynch syndrome.

"Unfortunately, this does not mean that eating a diet low in snack foods will prevent any polyps from developing, but it might mean that those Lynch syndrome patients who eat a lot of snack foods might have more polyps than if they ate less snack foods," said Dr. Botma.

The study was observational and hence more studies are needed before the confirmed link is established. An earlier research from the same group of researchers suggested that smoking and obesity may also increase the risk of developing colorectal polyps among individuals with Lynch Syndrome.

The study was published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

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