The global prevalence of colorectal cancer (CRC) is currently the highest in high-income countries. However, a rapid increase in prevalence is starting to emerge in many low-income and middle-income countries. This phenomenon is thought to be related to the adoption of a Western lifestyle, characterized by a lack of physical activity, the consumption of refined cereals, as well as highly processed foods. Other characteristics include a reduction in fruit and vegetable intake with a concomitant increase in the consumption of foods that are energy dense, but lacking in micronutrients. Coupled to the above dietary and lifestyle changes is the advent of an increased prevalence of body fatness and central obesity, as well as a dietary intake that lends itself to increasing the risk of developing CRC. As there are observed inconsistencies when appraising the effectivity of dietary and lifestyle-cancer relationships, this chapter will provide an overview of the current body of evidence regarding the role of diet and proxies for lifestyle in terms of their preventative or causative roles in the development of CRC. In addition, the strength of scientific evidence will be alluded to, as well as the modulating pathways responsible for CRC causation or protection.
Part of the book: Multidisciplinary Approach for Colorectal Cancer