Monday, March 30, 2009

The Links Between Vegetables, Fruits and Cancer

With over a 100 types of cancers able to affect any part of the body, about 13% of all deaths worldwide were caused by the disease in 2004. Generally treated by surgery, radiation therapy and cancer drugs such as antineoplastic agents, a third of all cancers could be cured if they are detected early and treated well. And with about a one-third of all cancer cases being preventable, there's a realization to stress more on this cost-effective way of tackling cancer.

Some foods, such as fruits and vegetable are thought to aid prevention of cancer. And many studies have found such links as follows.

Vegetables, Fruits and Prostate Cancer

A review published in the "Molecular Nutrition and Food Research," Feb 2009 issue supports the claim that an intake of a high vegetable diet can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The protective mechanism is believed to be include antioxidants that shield the DNA and healthy cell against damage.

In a related study published in the “International Journal of Cancer, March 2004,” those who consumed most fiber particularly from vegetable sources ran a moderately lower risk of being affected by the disease.

Vegetables, Fruits and Colon Cancer

An analysis published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2007, suggested that while consumption of fruits and vegetables isn't strongly associated with the overall colon cancer risk, there's a possibility of a lower risk at the distal colon or the left-hand side of the colon.

Vegetables, Fruits and Cervical Cancer

An article appearing in the journal “Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention,2002,” showed that women whose diets were high in vegetables cut their rates of long-lasting HPV infections by half. Thus indirectly decreasing the risk of developing cervical cancer.

Vegetables, fruits and Cancer Drugs

A study released by the Pennsylvania State University (PSU), Mar 2009, found that compounds extracted from green vegetables like broccoli and cabbage could be used to make effective cancer drugs against melanoma – a type of a skin cancer. Trials conducted on mice showed that these compounds targeted tumors more safely and effectively than conventional treatments.

While many studies support the role of fruits and vegetables in preventing cancer, many don't. For instance, no link foun between eating fruits and vegetables and a decreased risk for breast cancer (JAMA, Jan 2005), or a high intake of fruit and vegetables isn't linked to a decreased risk of cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Nov 2004), and more.

All in all, the link between vegetables, fruits and cancer seems to be and as the American Cancer Society (ACS) suggests, is that eating more vegetables and fruits lowers the risk for some types of cancers.

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