Animal fat raises risk of stomach and esophageal cancer

October 23, 2001 in Cancer Prevention, Gastrointestinal Health, Healthy Eating

Animal fat raises risk of stomach and esophageal cancer

Individuals who enjoy diets rich in meat, cheese and whole milk may be at increased risk of developing cancer of the esophagus and the stomach, according to the results of a recent study.

Scientists from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, interviewed more than 1,000 patients and nearly 700 healthy people in three states to investigate the link between fat and certain gastrointestinal cancers. Total fat intake and intake of saturated fat each doubled the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma. Saturated fat also raised the risk of gastric cardia, which affects the upper part of the stomach, and another type of cancer of the esophagus. Cholesterol, animal protein and vitamin B12, found primarily in animal products, were also associated with a higher risk of these cancers.

Intake of fiber, beta-carotene, folate, vitamin C and vitamin B6 were associated with a lower risk of all four cancer types studied. Use of a vitamin C supplement at least once a week for 6 or more months also showed a significant association with a lower risk of these cancers.

Intake of salt and nitrites were both linked with risk of gastric cancer.

The authors said that these results suggest that prevention strategies for these cancers should emphasize increased consumption of plant foods, decreased consumption of foods of animal origin...and control of obesity.

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