A new study on the link between diet and cancer contains important information for patients trying to beat mesothelioma.
The study was conducted by researchers at Tufts University and published this week in JNCI Cancer Spectrum. It compares American diets and rates of several kinds of cancer in 2015.
The goal was to determine how many cancer cases might be blamed on poor diet. Although the study did not focus on mesothelioma cancer, patients determined to beat mesothelioma would be wise to take note of the findings.
Poor Nutrition Can Lead to Cancer
The Tufts researchers estimated that more than 80,000 cases of cancer diagnosed in 2015 happened because of suboptimal diet. That is more than 5 percent of all of that year’s new cancer cases.
Colon cancer was most closely linked to diet, followed by cancer of the mouth, pharynx and larynx. The team named seven dietary habits that significantly raise the risk for cancer, either directly or by causing obesity. They are:
- Not enough whole grains
- Not enough dairy
- Too many processed meats
- Too much red meat
- Not enough fruit
- Not enough vegetables
- Too many sugary beverages
“Our findings underscore the opportunity to reduce cancer burden and disparities in the United States by improving food intake,” says study author Fang Fang Zhang, a cancer and nutrition researcher at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts.
How Diet and Lifestyle May Help Beat Mesothelioma
Unlike many other types of cancer, doctors know what causes mesothelioma. People with a history of exposure to asbestos have a much higher risk of developing this rare malignancy. Once a person is exposed to asbestos, there is no way to get the fibers out of the body.
Even though malignant mesothelioma is not directly caused by poor diet, nutrition can still play a role in survival.
Multiple studies have shown that patients who are in good physical condition (including good nutritional status) at the start of mesothelioma treatment have the best outcomes. In addition, the patients who go on to beat mesothelioma tend to be those with healthy lifestyles.
Paul Kraus, the world’s longest-living documented mesothelioma survivor, has beat mesothelioma for more than 20 years. He credits his long survival to a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, exercise, supplements, and mindfulness.
Based on the Tufts study, patients who hope to beat mesothelioma may want to minimize their consumption of processed meats and increase their fruits, vegetables, dairy, and whole grains.
Keep in mind that nutritional needs and tastes can change during mesothelioma treatment. Talk to your physician about the best food to eat during therapy.
To learn more about Paul Kraus’ own dietary habits and survival tips, claim your free copy of his book, “Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers”.
Zhang, FF, “Preventable Cancer Burden Associated with Poor Diet in the United States”, May 22, 2019, JNCI Cancer Spectrum, https://academic.oup.com/jncics/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jncics/pkz034/5492023?searchresult=1