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Increased fruit consumption may lower oral cancer risk for men

For men, eating lots of fruits, particularly citrus fruits and juices, may help significantly lower their risk for developing premalignant oral lesions, according to study results recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Researchers from the Harvard University School of Public Health examined fruit and vegetable consumption and the incidence of premalignant oral lesions among a group of 42,311 American men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, a study that began in 1986 to evaluate a series of hypotheses about men's health relating nutritional factors to the incidence of serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and other vascular diseases.

In all, 207 cases of premalignant oral lesions were recorded among the study group between 1986 and 2002. However, the consumption of citrus fruits, citrus fruit juice and vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables was associated with significantly lower risk of such lesions, reaching a 30-40 percent decrease in risk with greater quantities of these items in the diet, the Harvard researchers report.

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 30,990 new cases (20,180 in men and 10,810 in women) of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2006. An estimated 7,430 people (5,050 men and 2,380 women) will die of these cancers in 2006.

According to the American Dental Association, it is now easier than ever to detect oral cancer early, when the opportunity for a cure is great. Regular dental check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions.

For more information about oral cancer, visit the ADA Web site at "".

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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