A groundbreaking study shows strawberries may drastically reduce esophageal cancer. The progression of the disease was reversed in 80 percent of patients diagnosed with precancerous lesions of the esophagus who were given powdered freeze-dried strawberries for six months.
If these remarkable results had been attained through a new chemotherapy drug, the findings would likely have been hailed as a most promising development in cancer treatment research. However, since the reversals were attained though an intervention that has no side effects, the study is all the more significant.
Esophageal cancer is one of the deadliest malignancies, as it has a five-year survival rate of 13 percent. It proves fatal to most patients within the first year of diagnosis.
The Problem of Studying Dietary Interventions for Cancer
Research shows fruits can suppress the growth of cancer in a petri dish, but scientists need to know if this food can have the same effect on the human body. The problem is that withholding chemotherapy and conventional cancer treatments to test the efficacy of fruits or vegetables is not deemed ethical by the medical community.
To avoid this dilemma, one approach of researchers is to combine a dietary intervention like turmeric or green tea with traditional cancer treatment to determine if they help it work better. But theoretically, fruits and vegetables can reduce the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiation, so this adds to the complexity of evaluating the sole benefits of healthful foods in relation to the disease.
Another approach is to test dietary interventions on slow growing malignancies like prostate cancer. At least one study shows this cancer can be reversed with a plant-based diet.
Esophageal Cancer’s Distinct Stages Make it Conducive for Research
The formation of esophageal cancer is a multistage process with each step of progression being well defined. Because of this advantage, researchers sought to test the effect of berries, which some consider to be the healthiest fruit, on this malignancy. Tong Chen, a researcher from Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center conducted a clinical trial on 36 participants from Central China, an area that has one of the world’s highest rates of esophageal cancer. Each participant was given 2 ounces of powdered strawberries, the equivalent of 1 pound of the fruit, mixed with water daily.
At the onset of the study, none of the participants had a normal esophagus, manifesting either mild or moderate precancerous lesions. Amazingly, by the end of the research most lesions either regressed from moderate to mild or completely disappeared. After six months of the strawberry regimen, half of the participants were free of the disease. All 36 participants had been at high risk of developing this very deadly cancer.
Recent population studies also indicate plant foods can help protect against esophageal cancer. Conversely, this type of research suggests a diet high in meat and fat appears to double the risk of cancer.
The study was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research. Chen was excited about the findings and felt a larger, more rigorous study was needed to verify the results. Regardless of what future research shows, it appears that what we eat can make a decided difference.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.