Monday, September 6, 2010

Variety of vegetables is key to reducing lung cancer risk

A new European study shows that not just
quantity of vegetables, but variety matter
in reducing non-small call lung cancer risk.
(Photo courtesy UN Development Programme

PHILADELPHIA – (Cancer Digest) – Eating vegetables may help reduce the chance of getting lung cancer. And adding a variety of fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk of a particular type of non-small cell lung cancer called squamous cell lung cancer, especially among smokers, say researchers.

Led by Dr. H. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, senior scientist and project director of cancer epidemiology at The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, The Netherlands, the researchers published their results in the September issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

“Although quitting smoking is the most important preventive action in reducing lung cancer risk, consuming a mix of different types of fruits and vegetables may also reduce risk, independent of the amount, especially among smokers,” Bueno-de-Mesquita said in a prepared statement.

Using information from the ongoing, multi-centered European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, Bueno-de-Mesquita’s team evaluated 452,187 participants with complete information, 1,613 of whom had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Information was obtained on 14 commonly eaten fruits and 26 commonly eaten vegetables. The fruits and vegetables evaluated in the EPIC study consisted of a wide variety of fresh, canned or dried products.

Previous results from the EPIC study showed that the quantity of vegetables and fruits may decrease risk of lung cancer; in particular the risk of one specific type of lung cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, decreased in current smokers.

Almost 80 percent of lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancers, of those about 30 percent are squamous cell tumors. This is cancer that originates in the scale-like cells that line the major airways of the lungs.

Regardless of the quantity of vegetables consumed, the study also showed that risk of lung cancer decreased when a variety of vegetables were consumed. And, the risk of squamous cell carcinoma decreased substantially when a variety of fruits and vegetables were eaten.

“Fruits and vegetables contain many different bioactive compounds, and it makes sense to assume that it is important that you not only eat the recommended amounts, but also consume a rich mix of these bioactive compounds by consuming a large variety,” Bueno-de-Mesquita said.

While previous research has shown the influence of the quantity of fruits and vegetables on cancer development, Dr. Stephen Hecht, editorial board member for Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, said in an accompanying editorial that this study is one of the first to evaluate diversity of fruit and vegetable consumption, rather than quantity alone.

“The results are very interesting and demonstrate a protective effect in smokers,” Hecht wrote. “There are still over a billion smokers in the world, and many are addicted to nicotine and cannot stop in spite of their best efforts.”

Hecht added that tobacco smoke contains a complex mixture of cancer causing agents, and therefore, a mixture of protective agents is needed to have any beneficial effect in reducing one’s chance of lung cancer.

“Nevertheless, the public should be made aware and be reminded that the only proven way to reduce your risk for lung cancer is to avoid tobacco in all its forms,” he wrote.

SOURCE: adapted from press materials provided by the American Association for Cancer Research re.: “Variety in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and the Risk of Lung Cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition”; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev1055-9965.EPI-10-0489; Published OnlineFirst Aug. 31, 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment