Colon cancer patients who eat a lot of red meat, french fries and desserts may raise their chances of suffering a relapse and dying early, according to new research.

Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston found that patients who ate a so-called Western diet were three-and-a-half times more likely to have a recurrence of colon cancer than those eating poultry, fish, vegetables and fruit, News.com.au reported.

Previous research has found that certain lifestyle choices and diets play an important role in the risk of developing cancer.

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But few studies had measured the role of food in the recurrence of colon cancer and the risk of dying, the researchers said in a study published in the August 15 edition of the Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA).

Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt, the study's lead author, and colleagues from the cancer institute looked at 1,009 patients suffering from stage 3 colon cancer, in which the tumor is present in the colon and lymph nodes.