Consuming a diet based on Mediterranean foods could halve people’s chances of developing mouth cancer, according to new research published in the British Journal of Cancer.
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Researchers analysed data from a study that was conducted between 1997 and 2009 in Italy and Switzerland, assessing 768 diagnosed oral and pharyngeal cases.
Foods to prevent the dangers of oral cancer
The results showed that patients whose diets featured more Mediterranean foods had a significantly lower risk of developing the cancer.
These foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, olive oil and fish. The diet is also mostly whole or minimally processed, as well as being low in fat and lacking in fast foods, sugary beverages and red meat. Read more.
Although age, education and smoking were also contributing factors to the results, the diet reduced risks for everybody that was studied across the 12 years. Furthermore, Italy has some of the lowest recorded cases of mouth cancer in Europe, the article notes.
A solution for all
It’s already known that poor diet can be a risk factor for developing mouth cancer, but the findings show that the Mediterranean diet could be the perfect solution for people concerned about which foods are the best to opt for.
According to Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, the absence of processed foods is a key element to the results.
Detecing early signs and increasing survival rates
“Some experts believe poor diet accounts for more than half of mouth cancer cases in the UK, and the worst thing is it’s really simple to develop a diet that can keep you out of harm’s way”, he added.
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Dr Carter further explains that avoiding excessive alcohol consumption can help to reduce cancer risks, and that eating fruit and vegetables can also lower the risk of gum disease.
Unfortunately, he feels that there is not enough publicity in the UK about mouth cancer, meaning that many people are unaware of how common and dangerous it is, and the lifestyle changes that they should be making.
As with all cancers, early detection is the best way to increase survival rates. Find out about Mouth Cancer Action Month.