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Thursday 18th July 2019

Cabbage-like vegetables slash cancer risk

2nd October 2012

Eating a diet rich in vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower can significantly cut a person's risk of getting a variety of different cancers.


Researchers reviewing recent literature in the Annals of Oncology journal said that large amounts of cruciferous vegetables appeared to be strongly linked to reduced rates of oral, oesophageal and colorectal cancers, as well as breast and kidney cancer.

Previous epidemiological studies have shown a similar linkage, but the results were not always consistent.

According to study lead author C Bosetti at Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche ‘Mario Negri’ in Milan, Italy, men and women who ate cruciferous vegetables - also known as brassicas - at least once a week cut their risk of oral, colorectal and breast cancers by 17%.

Compared with men and women who never ate such vegetables, they also showed a 32% reduced risk of kidney cancer and a 28% lower risk of oesophageal cancer.

The risk of stomach cancer was also cut by 10%, of pancreatic cancer by 10%, and of laryngeal cancer by 16%.

The risk of getting endometrial cancer was reduced by 7%, of ovarian cancer by 9%, and prostate cancer by 13%, although these levels of risk reduction were not considered statistically significant, researchers said.

They concluded that their review of such a large series of studies provided further evidence that eating cruciferous vegetables has a favourable effect on the likelihood of developing a number of common cancers.

Bosetti and fellow researchers carried out a meta-analysis of data from multiple case-control studies conducted in Italy and Switzerland, which included 1,468 cancers of the oral cavity/pharynx, 505 of the esophagus, 230 of the stomach, 2,390 of the colorectum, 185 of the liver, 326 of the pancreas, 852 of the larynx, 3,034 of the breast, 367 of the endometrium, 1,031 of the ovary, 1,294 of the prostate, 767 of the kidney, and 11,492 controls.

Cruciferous vegetables belong to the brassica family, and include large numbers of variations on the same species.

They include cabbage, cauliflower, cresses, pak choy, brussels sprouts and broccoli, as well as Chinese leaves and rocket.

They are called cruciferous because their flowers form four petals which resemble the shape of a cross.

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