According to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition, the consumption of fruits and vegetables has been found to lower the risks of invasive bladder cancer in adult women. Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, nutrients, phytochemicals and antioxidants that are necessary in the fight against cancer.
Researchers analysed data from 185 885 people from five different ethnic groups over 12.5 years. They found an inverse relationship between fruits, vegetables, and one’s risk of invasive bladder cancer. The greater the consumption of fruits and vegetables, the less risk of cancer.
The fruits and vegetables that were investigated include light green vegetables, dark green vegetables, yellow-orange vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, all fruits, fruit juice, citrus fruits, and yellow-orange fruits.
“Our study supports the fruit and vegetable recommendation for cancer prevention,” said researcher Song-Yi Park of the University of Hawaii Cancer Centre.
Higher intakes of several carotenoids and vitamins such as A, C, E and folate were closely related with the lower risk. Women who consumed the most yellow-orange vegetables were 52 per cent less likely to be diagnosed with invasive bladder cancer compared to women who consumed the least amount.
Bladder cancer is common and one of the hardest cancers to prevent. Approximately 70 per cent of bladder cancer is classified as non-muscle-invasive or superficial. The remaining 30 per cent are invasive bladder cancers and generally require surgical removal of the bladder and some surrounding organs.
The findings remained valid even after adjusting for other risk factors related to cancer such as alcohol and tobacco use. A smoker’s risk of developing bladder cancer is two to three times higher compared to non-smokers. Tobacco has been found to account for up to 70 per cent of all cases.
Despite the fact that the bladder is not directly exposed to tobacco smoke, cancer-producing compounds are absorbed in the blood and transported to the bladder. Bladder cells are then unable to withstand the carcinogenic effects and stimulate cancerous growths and tumours.
A similar study in The Netherlands also found an inverse relationship between fruit consumption and bladder cancer. The findings were more pronounced in smokers than in those who never smoked.
In non-tobacco cases, bladder cancer is typically associated with tropical diseases such as schistosomiasis or bilharzial infestation. Schistosomiasis is a chronic disease that is caused by parasitic worms.
Other bladder cancer risk factors include exposure to a variety of chemicals. People who work in the rubber, chemical and leather industries are at an elevated risk. Other high-risk trades include truck drivers, painters, machinists and hairdressers.
If you’re at risk, foods such as broccoli, berries, and garlic have showed some of the strongest links to cancer prevention. They’re packed with powerful phytochemicals and antioxidants that can help protect you against cancer.
Research suggests that colourful fruits and vegetables are also important in preventing a variety of other serious health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Eat your fruits and vegetables, no excuse.
Dr Cory Couillard is an international health columnist that works in collaboration with the World Health Organization’s goals of disease prevention and global health care education. Views do not necessarily reflect endorsement.
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