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Cancer Project: The News You Need

Childhood Fruit Intake Reduces Adult Cancers

A 60-year study of 3,878 men and women living in rural and urban areas of England and Scotland found that participants who consumed more fruit as children had less cancer later in life. Initial food surveys were carried out in 1930s pre-war Britain and examined for vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene intake. Compared to those who ate the least fruit as children, those who ate the most were 38 percent less likely to develop cancer as adults.

Maynard M, Gunnell D, Emmett P, Frankel S, Smith GD. Fruit, vegetables, and antioxidants in childhood and risk of adult cancer: the Boyd Orr cohort. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2003;57:218-225.

FDA Orders Estrogen Cancer Warnings

After analyzing data from the Women’s Health Initiative study, the FDA has mandated a new boxed warning—the highest level of warning information in labeling—for estrogen and estrogen/progestin products such as Prempro, indicating an increased risk for heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and breast cancer. It also emphasizes that the products are not approved for heart disease prevention.

FDA News, January 8, 2003

Insulin Resistance Linked to Prostate Cancer

As reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers measured fasting serum glucose and insulin levels in 128 cancer patients and 306 healthy individuals, finding that insulin resistance is associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer. Western diets, high in saturated fat, red meat, and refined sugar contribute to insulin resistance, a condition whereby tissues become unresponsive to the many actions of insulin. Such diets may also lead to obesity, which, in turn, aggravates insulin resistance.

Hsing AW, Gao Y, Streamson C, Deng J, Stanczyk FZ. Insulin resistance and prostate cancer risk. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003;95:67-71.

More Cancer-Fighting Substances in Organic Produce

A University of California, Davis, study of organically grown corn, strawberries, and marionberries found they contained higher levels of natural cancer-fighting compounds than conventionally grown samples. Pesticides and herbicides used for conventional produce appear to impede the production of phenolics, which defend plants from insects and people from disease. Levels of antioxidants in organically grow corn were 58.5 percent higher than conventionally grown corn; antioxidant levels in organic marionberries and strawberries were 50 and 19 percent higher, respectively.

Certified organic crops are not genetically engineered, irradiated, or fertilized with sewage sludge. The land must also be free of pesticides and herbicides for three years prior to farming.

Asami D, Hong Y, Barrett DM, Mitchell AE. Comparison of the total phenolic and ascorbic acid content of freeze-dried and air-dried marionberry, strawberry, and corn grown using conventional, organic, and sustainable agricultural practices. J Agric Food Chem. 2003;51:1237-1241.


Summer 2003
Volume XII
Number 3

Good Medicine

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