According to an article recently published in the International Journal of Cancer, high intake of fruits and vegetables significantly lowers the incidence of lung cancer, even among smokers.
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the world. Once lung cancer has spread from its site of origin, cure rates remain suboptimal. Although several advances in the treatment of lung cancer have recently emerged, overall long-term survival for patients with this disease remains low. Therefore, preventing the disease altogether, or at least reducing the risk of its development, would provide significant benefit.
Several studies have suggested that dietary factors may play a significant role in prevention and potential outcomes of various types of cancer. In particular, intake of fruits and vegetables appears to play an important role in protecting individuals from developing certain cancers (supplements, however, have not demonstrated these protective effects). Research continues to investigate a potential link between consumption of certain foods and cancer prevention.
Researchers from Europe recently conducted a study to evaluate data recorded between 1992 and 2000 that included nearly 500,000 individuals. Patients were followed for a median of over six years.
- Overall, there was an increased risk of lung cancer among individuals as their consumption of fruit decreased.
- Individuals had a 10% reduction in the incidence of lung cancer with each 100-gram increase in daily fruit intake.
- Lung cancer was decreased among smokers who had a high intake of vegetables.
- Among smokers there was a 22% decreased incidence of lung cancer with each 100-gram increase in daily vegetable intake and an 8% decreased incidence with each 100-gram increase in daily fruit consumption.
- Overall, increased apple and pear consumption was associated with a decreased incidence of lung cancer.
- Among smokers increased consumption of root vegetables was associated with a decreased incidence of lung cancer.
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The researchers concluded that these results provide further evidence that increased fruit and vegetable consumption appears to lower the risk of developing cancer. This study in particular noted that fruit consumption decreased the risk of developing lung cancer overall and vegetable consumption decreased the risk of developing the disease among smokers. Individuals are encouraged to increase their daily consumption of fruits and vegetables to improve their chances of preventing specific diseases such as cancer.
Reference: Linseisen J, Rohrmann S, Miller A, et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption and lung cancer risk: updated information from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). International Journal of Cancer. 2007;121:1103-1114.
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