Don’t Take Another Bite…
Best way to prevent bladder cancer:
|Avoid red meat||Drink more water||Restrict alcohol|
Drink more water and other fluids; they dilute the concentration of carcinogens in the urine and cut the time they’re in contact with the bladder lining. It’s recommended you drink at least 8 cups of fluids daily. In one recent study, people who downed 10 cups a day had half the bladder cancer risk of those who drank 5 cups. There’s no evidence that drinking alcohol or eating red meat has any influence on bladder cancer.
Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is most likely to cut your odds of this type of cancer:
The evidence is most convincing that eating at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, especially carrots and leafy greens, can cut the risk of lung cancer in current and former smokers (and people who never smoked). Some experts call lung cancer a “vegetable deficiency”; of course, nothing stops lung cancer like quitting smoking. Fruits and vegetables also are good bets against colon, stomach and esophageal cancer; they may discourage breast, pancreatic, prostate and endometrial cancer.
A good way to prevent virtually all cancers is to cut down on which staple of the U.S. diet?
Note: Diet doesn’t seem to significantly affect your risk of leukemias, lymphomas and cancers of the brain, kidneys (obesity boosts risk) or ovaries, the American Cancer Society says.
Surprisingly, there’s no evidence any of these causes cancer. Coffee once was linked to pancreatic cancer and caffeine to breast cancer, but later research found no connections. Nor does sugar directly cause cancer, except when it contributes to obesity (a risk factor for several cancers). High-salt diets, as in Japan, have been tied to stomach, nose and throat cancers. It’s unlikely the lower amounts of salt eaten in this country are a cancer hazard, says the American Cancer Society.
Which most promotes colon cancer?
|Overeating||Vitamin deficiencies||Red meat|
Overeating, especially coupled with lack of physical exercise, results in obesity, the No. 1 risk factor for colon cancer; being fat doubles your risk of colon cancer. Another culprit is red meat, notably fried, barbecued and processed. Deficiencies of folic acid and selenium also may promote colon cancer. Recommendations: Avoid obesity and excessive alcohol. Restrict red meat (beef, pork, veal) and processed meat (bacon, ham, cold cuts, sausage, hot dogs) and eat smaller portions. Take 600 micrograms of folic acid and 200mcg of selenium daily. In women with a family history of colon cancer, taking more than 400mcg of folic acid daily cut this cancer risk in half, a new study says.
Which supplement helps ward off the No. 1 cancer risk in men, prostate cancer?
Selenium (200mcg a day) slashed the occurrence of prostate cancer 70% in a large University of Utah study. Also good: Eating lycopene-rich tomato sauce twice a week reduces prostate risk as much as one-fourth. Whether lycopene supplements work, too, isn’t clear. Vitamin E (400 to 800 milligrams daily) also may help. Worst choice: calcium, which can hike the growth of prostate cancer, recent Harvard studies have found. Men eating more than 600mg of calcium daily in foods had one-third greater prostate risk than men getting less than 150mg. More than 2,000mg calcium, mostly from pills, tripled the risk of advanced prostate cancer.
If you fear breast cancer, it’s wise to consume:
|More soy||Less fat||Less alcohol|
Most important is restricting alcohol to one drink a day or eliminating it entirely. Alcohol can be a prime instigator of breast cancer, possibly by manipulating estrogen. Getting 600mcg of folic acid daily, however, may significantly lower the risk, says Harvard nutritionist Walter Willett. Eating less fat may help if it keeps weight normal. Obesity is a decided breast cancer threat in postmenopausal women. Surprisingly, experts advise women with breast cancer not to load up on soy foods (tofu, soy milk, soy protein) or soy supplements (powders or pills) without first consulting their doctor. High doses of phytochemicals (isoflavones) in soy may, like estrogen, promote cancer growth, according to the American Cancer Society. In general, Willett considers two to four weekly servings of soy foods a safe amount.
Contributing Editor Jean Carper is an authority on food as medicine. Contact her at jeancarper.com.
SCIENTIFIC SOURCES FOR THIS ARTICLE
Bladder cancer and water
– Michaud DS, N Eng J Med 1999 May 6; 340(18): 1390-
Colon cancer and folic acid
– Fuchs CS. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2002 Mar; 11(3): 227-34
Prostate cancer and calcium
– Chan JM, Am J Clin Nutr 2001 Oct; 74(4): 549-54)
– Giovannucci E., Cancer Res 1998 Feb 1:58(3): 442-7
Prostate cancer and lycopene
– Giovannucci, E. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002 March 6:94(5): 391-8
Prostate cancer and selenium
– Clark, LC. JAMA 1996, 276: 1957-1963
– Eat Drink and Be Healthy. Walter C. Willett, M.D., Simon &Schuster, 2001. pages 111-113
– CA, A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. March/April, 2002 : 52(2): 92-119. published by the American Cancer Society.
– CA A Cancer Journal for Clinicians May/June 2001: 51(3): 153-181.
This EatSmart column is reprinted from USAWEEKEND Magazine and is copyrighted by Jean Carper. It cannot be reprinted without permission from Jean Carper.
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Article updated on: August 4th, 2002