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Do fruits and veggies offset tobacco/alcohol cancer risks?

Wed, Nov 28, 2012

Oral Cancer News

Author: DrBicuspid Staff

Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce the risk of oral cancer, and now a new study suggests that these “protective effects” may impede the negative effects of tobacco and alcohol consumption with regard to cancer risk (Nutrition and Cancer, November 2012, Vol. 64:8, pp. 1182-1189).

For the study, researchers from the University of São Paulo assessed the association between frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables and the risk of oral cancer, comparing results between nonsmokers and smokers and nondrinkers and drinkers.

Their case-control study involved 296 patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma attended in three major hospitals in São Paulo, paired with 296 controls recruited from outpatient units of the same hospitals.

The researchers found that eating both fruit and vegetables was associated with prevention of the disease in light (odds ratio [OR] = 0.46; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.27-0.78) and heavy (OR = 0.30; 95% CI = 0.14-0.65) smokers.

For nonsmokers, no fruit (OR = 50; 95% CI = 0.22-1.12) or vegetable (for tomato, OR = 0.53; 95% CI = 0.31-0.93) was associated with reduced risk of oral and oropharyngeal cancer. Similar results were found with regard to drinking status, with OR = 0.51 (95% CI = 0.30-0.87) and 0.18 for fruits (95% CI = 0.07-0.45), respectively, for light and heavy drinkers.

“This observation suggests that the protective effect of fruit and salad intake may modulate the deleterious effects from tobacco and alcohol,” the researchers concluded.

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