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Ethnic differences in Colon and Rectal Cancer incidence in Nigeria: A case of dietary determinants?

DO Irabor


Colorectal cancer has for a long time occurred at lower rates in the native African than in Caucasians. The reasons adduced have included the lack of premalignant conditions like polyps
and ulcerative colitis and majorly to the high fibre, low animal protein diet that Africans consume. Nigeria has a low colorectal cancer incidence and within this milieu the incidence between the various ethnic tribes also varies with some particular tribes exhibiting negligible incidence rates. If moving from a location of low colorectal cancer incidence to one of high colorectal cancer incidence predisposes one to develop the disease, could not the converse apply and those with a predisposition to developing the disease experience some protection when they live or interact with those with negligible predisposition? This study was aimed at giving an impetus to research on the peoples of
the riverine areas of Nigeria in a bid to unravel the cancer-preventive factors either in their diet or environment for the good of those from the Western world.