Charles S. Fuchs, MD, co-leader of the SU2C Colorectal Cancer Dream Team, is also head of a research that recently reported an intriguing finding: people with stage III colon cancer who regularly eat nuts are at significantly lower risk of cancer recurrence and mortality than those who don’t. The study followed 826 participants in a clinical trial for a median of 6.5 years after they were treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Those who regularly consumed at least two, one-ounce servings of nuts each week demonstrated a 42% improvement in disease-free survival and a 57% improvement in overall survival, according to a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Earlier research among patients with colon cancer has indicated that patients are more likely to have poor outcomes when lifestyle factors such as obesity, high carbohydrate diet and lack of exercise increases their insulin resistance or raises blood sugar levels. “These studies support the hypothesis that behaviors that make you less insulin resistant, including eating nuts, seem to improve outcomes in colon cancer,” Fuchs said. “However, we don’t know yet what exactly about nuts is beneficial.” Nuts also might play a positive role by satisfying hunger with less intake of carbohydrates or other foods associated with poor outcomes, Fuchs noted. Dr. Fuchs is director of the Yale Cancer Center and physician-in-chief at the Smilow Cancer Hospital.
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