A new study by European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition–Oxford (EPIC-Oxford) analyzed the cancer incidence among vegetarians and found that the incidence of colorectal cancer was higher in vegetarians than in meat eaters, which stands in contrast to some recent claims. The study, recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also found the risk of malignant tumors was similar between vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
The study, which included 63,550 men and women recruited throughout the United Kingdom between 1993 and 1999, found that the incidence rate ratio (IRR) for colorectal cancer in vegetarians compared to meat eaters was 1.39 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.91). The use of IRR allowed comparison of people with no prior malignant cancer for various factors like smoking, body mass index, alcohol consumption and dietary consumption of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
The EPIC-Oxford cohort is one component of the EPIC, a collaborative study of 500,000 men and women in 10 European countries recruited between 1993 and 1999.