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Principal Investigator
Ivana Kulhanova
Faculty of Science, Charles University
Position Title
Assistant Professor
About this Project
PLCO (Learn more about this study)
Project ID
Ethnic differences in colorectal cancer incidence: the role of lifestyle risk factors

About 2 million of new colorectal cancer cases were estimated to occur in 2018, accounting for 1 in 10 cancer cases worldwide. Overall, colorectal cancer ranks third in terms of incidence and second in terms of mortality worldwide. Several risk factors are associated with the incidence of colorectal cancer. Determinants that cannot be individually controlled include e.g. gender, age and hereditary factors. However, colorectal cancer is widely considered to be an environmental disease, with a wide range of often ill-defined cultural, social and lifestyle factors. Therefore it is one of the major cancers for which modifiable causes may be identified, and a large proportion of cases theoretically preventable.

Although literature suggests that obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption or diet rich on meat, calories or fat increases the risk of colorectal cancer, factors such as physical activity, high intake of vitamin D, high calcium intake and fruit and vegetable intake were documented as protective against this disease. Yet, it is not clear to what extent these risk or protective factors affect different racial/ethnic groups. Incidence rates in the U.S. show clear racial/ethnic disparities for colorectal cancer. It is evident that genetic susceptibility, biological factors, differences in health care utilization play an important role, nevertheless lifestyle risk factors may be an important determinant of these inequalities as well.

The results of this project will be summarized in a thesis for completion of Master´s studies in Social Epidemiology at the Charles University.


• To investigate the association between lifestyle risk factors and colorectal cancer incidence
• To determine the contribution of lifestyle risk factors to the racial/ethnic differences in colorectal cancer incidence


Jana Slamenikova (student; Faculty of Science, Charles University)
Michala Lustigova (Faculty of Science, Charles University)