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Colorectal cancer and absolute risks
  1. Blake J Lawrence1,2,
  2. Elise Alexander1,2,
  3. Hayley Grant1,2,
  4. Moira O'Connor1,2
  1. 1 WA Cancer Prevention Research Unit, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia
  2. 2 School of Psychology, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Blake J Lawrence, School of Psychology, Curtin University, Perth, WA 6102, Australia; blake.lawrence{at}

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We read the umbrella review and meta-analysis by Chapelle et al, 1 which summarised the evidence from 80 meta-analyses examining medications and dietary factors associated with prevention of colorectal cancer. The main findings showed that aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, magnesium, folate and high consumption of fruits, vegetables, fibre and dairy products were associated with decreased incidence of colorectal cancer. Whereas frequent consumption of alcohol and meat were associated with increased incidence of colorectal cancer. Chapelle et al also reported the quality of evidence as overwhelmingly very low to low and concluded their review by suggesting that these findings will assist clinicians when advising average risk patients, yet they did not report the statistical result most relevant to an average risk patient living in the community: absolute risk.

Absolute risk is the estimate of the likelihood of the …

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  • Contributors All authors (BJL, EA, HG and MO) contributed to the preparation and revision of this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.