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Mean faecal urobilinogen levels and the pH of stools were both found to be higher in subjects from a population group at high risk of developing cancer of the colon than in subjects matched for age, sex and socioeconomic status from a low-risk population group. An alkaline reaction of the colon contents seems to have a tumorigenic effect by a direct action on the mucus of the mucous cells. An acidic reaction, on the other hand, appears to be protective. These differences are dependent on the patterns of diet and manner of eating. Proper mastication of food, roughage, cellulose and vegetable fibre, and short-chain fatty acids of milk and fermented milk products in the diet appear to be protective.