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Vegetables may reduce risk of lung cancer in smokers.

Vegetables May Reduce Risk of Lung Cancer in Smokers

Eating a variety of vegetables may decrease the risk of developing lung cancer, a recent cross-cultural study in Hawaii suggests.

According to Lois Le Marchand and colleagues from the Epidemiology Program at the University of Hawaii, the findings of a 1983-1985 population-based study lend support to previous claims about beta-carotene's protective role against lung cancer. The investigators further concluded that all vegetables, not just those rich in beta-carotene, showed a dose-dependent negative association with the disease.

The risk of developing lung cancer, in both males and females, was inversely related to the amount of vegetables consumed. After adjustments for smoking, men with the lowest total vegetable intake had nearly three times the risk of developing lung cancer, while women in the same category had seven times the risk.

Study participants included 332 lung cancer patients and 865 controls from the island of Oahu. In order to ascertain the frequency and quantity of vegetable consumption, researchers administered dietary questionnaires to all subjects, and then classified the food groups on the basis of micronutrient content. Among vitamin A components, only consumption of beta-carotene and the other carotenoids with vitamin A activity was linked to cancer risk; beta-carotene showed a protective role.

Its protective mechanism was strongest for male smokers, particularly for current and recent ex-smokers, whereas for women, only ex-smokers and those who had never smoked showed this protective effect.

Of note, however, the researchers found that the reduction of lung cancer risk is greater for overall vegetable consumption than with beta-carotene intake per se. In addition, they reported that "the study provides indirect evidence for a protective effect against lung cancer from the consumption of lycopene, lutein, and the cancer inhibitors particularly abundant in cruciferous vegetables." (Journal of the National Cancer Institute August 2, 1989; 81:1158-64.)
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Sep 22, 1989
Words:305
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