Most of us have heard of colon cancer, sometimes called colorectal cancer. Rectal cancer may be a less familiar term. The rectum, where rectal cancer occurs, is located at the end of the large intestine; it is about 7 inches long About 1 of 8 deaths from colorectal cancer is due to rectal cancer. Some studies of colon cancer have found that high fiber diets reduce risk. Researchers from the University of Utah examined 952 people with rectal cancer and compared them to 1,205 people without rectal cancer. Subjects were asked to recall their diet two years before the start of the study, which for the people with cancer, was two years before their cancer was diagnosed. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains were associated with a reduced risk of developing rectal cancer. High intakes of dietary fiber also reduced the risk of cancer.
Slattery ML, Curtain KP, Edwards SL, Schaffer DM. 2004. Plant foods, fiber, and rectal cancer.
Am J Clin Nutr 79:274-81.