Study: Fruits and Vegetables Protect Women From Bladder Cancer
For a long time researchers have believed that eating more fruit and vegetables was a beneficial factor in preventing bladder cancer.
A new study recently released by the University of Hawaii confirms that there are indeed benefits for those who consume greater amounts of fruit and vegetables, though these benefits were more evident in women.
The National Cancer Institute estimates that there are over 72000 new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed and over 15000 deaths each year, in the United States alone.
Bladder cancer forms in the cells of the bladder where urine is stored. It is much more common to be diagnosed as an older adult and it has a very high success rate of treatment if caught early enough. Once the invasive cancer tumor grows into the wall of the bladder there is a much higher chance of it spreading to other parts of the body. It is at this point that survival rates decrease.
Smoking is said to be a leading cause of bladder cancer diagnosis and this is a cancer which has a very high risk of recurrence. Those who have survived bladder cancer will need to have ongoing check-ups for life. There is some disagreement over the different effects between men and women that smoking has on diagnosis of bladder cancer.
Researchers like Song-Yi Park and her team are working hard to find ways to decrease these high numbers of bladder cancer. For more than 12 years the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC) Study has been running to try to determine relationships among dietary, lifestyle, genetic factors, and cancer risk. Data has been collected and analysed from over 185,000 study participants, including 581 participants who were diagnosed with invasive bladder cancer during the study period.
Of the 581 participants who developed bladder cancer 429 were men, while only 152 were women. Cancer has many variables, like age or whether a person smokes, that influence whether a person may develop it or not. While examining the results, and allowing for these variables, researchers discovered that women were much more likely to benefit from an increase in consumption of fruit and vegetables.
Those female study participants who consumed the most yellow-orange vegetables were 52% less likely to develop bladder cancer than those who consumed the least.
Interestingly, researchers could find no benefit for males who consumed larger quantities of fruits and vegetables. The benefits seem to extend only to females and Song-Yi Park points out that “further investigation is needed to understand and explain why the reduced cancer risk with higher consumption of fruits and vegetables was confined to only women.”
Eating larger volumes of fruit and vegetables increases the amounts of vitamins that a woman consumes and these higher levels are thought to assist in the lower levels of bladder cancer in women that the study turned up. Throughout the study those women with the highest level of consumption of vitamins A, C and E were identified as the least likely to develop bladder cancer.
As advances in medicine continue, researchers are making great strides forward and discovering new information in the battle against bladder cancer.
Researchers from Plymouth University in the UK recently discovered a trigger which spurs a polyp in the bladder to change to invasive bladder cancer and commence the spread through the body. The scientific paper was published in American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology and the results may play a major part in determining the ‘switch’ that can be manipulated to decrease the development of bladder cancer.
Other advances such as a test which can ‘sniff’ out bladder cancer are being developed to work towards early diagnosis of bladder cancer. As one of the most expensive cancers to treat and monitor, there is much to be gained from reducing the incidence of bladder cancer.
The study by the University of Hawaii shows that increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables (especially the yellow-orange variety) is a quick and simple way to increase a woman’s resistance to bladder cancer. Both fruit and vegetables are easily incorporated into snacks and main meals and it can be as easy as grating up some extra veggies to add into your dinner each night. Salad is easily added to sandwiches or as a side dish for lunch and dinner. Fruit is a great snack and can be consumed as part of a tasty dessert. Try keeping a selection of fresh, canned and frozen vegetables and fruits on hand so you never need to go without.
For such an easy solution to have such an impact on an important health factor there seems to be no good reason to limit fruit and vegetables in a woman’s diet. Now if we could find something just as simple to decrease the risk of bladder cancer in men, we could see diagnosis rates dropping significantly.
Full study: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/143/8/1283.full