A Huge Number Of Cancer Cases Can Be Attributed To Poor Nutrition

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A Huge Number Of Cancer Cases Can Be Attributed To Poor Nutrition
A Huge Number Of Cancer Cases Can Be Attributed To Poor Nutrition

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A huge number of cancer cases can be attributed to poor nutrition

The largest number of cancers associated with malnutrition were in the colon and rectum (38.3%). It is followed by cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx and larynx, uterine cancer, postmenopausal breast cancer, kidney cancer, stomach cancer and liver cancer.

A huge number of cancer cases can be attributed to poor nutrition
A huge number of cancer cases can be attributed to poor nutrition

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According to a Tufts University study published in the JNCI Cancer Spectrum, about 80,110 new cancer cases in 2015 among American adults aged 20 and over are attributable simply to poor nutrition.

“This is equivalent to approximately 5.2% of all invasive cancers diagnosed for the first time in the US adult population in 2015. This proportion is comparable to the proportion of alcohol-related cancer burden,”said the study's first author, Dr. Fang Fang Zhang.

The study included data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on diets of American adults from 2013 to 2016, as well as data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on cancer incidence in 2015.

Scientists assessed seven dietary factors: low intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products and high intake of processed meat, red meat, and sugary sodas. They used a comparative risk assessment model that included an estimate of the number of cancers associated with inadequate nutrition and made it possible to determine the significance of nutrition. The following main findings were made:

The largest number of cases associated with malnutrition was in the colon and rectum (38.3%). It was followed by cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx, uterine cancer, postmenopausal breast cancer, kidney cancer, stomach cancer, and liver cancer.

  • Low consumption of whole grains, dairy products, vegetables and fruits, high consumption of processed meats, red meat and sweetened beverages are associated with the largest number of cancers.
  • Approximately 16% of cancers were found to be indirectly associated with obesity.
  • The largest proportion of cases are men aged 45-64 years and members of some racial / ethnic groups (in particular, African and Hispanic).

Processed foods are on the rise worldwide. According to research in recent years, they account for 60% of the calories of the average American diet, more than 50% of the Canadian and British. Most developing countries start eating in this way. The popularity of processed foods is easy to explain - people are looking for convenient and quick solutions, which includes instant food.

Overall, Zhang noted, “diet is one of the few modifiable risk factors for cancer prevention. These results highlight the need to reduce the burden of cancer and inequality in the US by improving consumption of key food and nutrient groups.”

So, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2018, a diet based on natural products reduces the overall risk of cancer. In particular, it is more likely to prevent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and postmenopausal breast cancer.

In contrast, a study in the February issue of JAMA Internal Medicine reported a 14% increased risk of early death for every 10% increase in the amount of ultra-processed foods in the diet.

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