Betting on better news ahead

Nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and other foods would prove to be our best preventive weapons.

Of course, nutritional strategies look promising for some, not all, forms of cancer.

The link with lifestyle

One thing is certain: Lifestyle, not heredity, most influences our chances of avoiding some common forms of cancer.

. Smokers who ate lots of carotene-rich fruits and vegetables were far less likely to develop lung cancer than smokers who ate few of these foods. In fact, the high- carotene group was only one-seventh as likely to contract the disease as the low- carotene group.

. People who had colon cancer and those who did not, and found that those free of the disease reported eating more cabbage.

. People who did not have lung cancer took in more vitamin A than patients with the disease. A better protection from cancers of the esophagus, bladder, and larynx.

Beneficial nutritional factors to less chance of cancers that begin in the skin or the lining of the mouth and other organs. As a group, these types of cancer are called carcinomas. By contrast, cancers that originate in muscle and bone (sarcomas), in blood-forming organs (leukemias), or in the lymph system (lymphomas) seem to be influenced by very different factors- viruses, radiation, and toxic chemicals, to name a few

Taking supplements safely

Six nutrients that we consider good bets for cancer prevention, along with tips on taking them safely.

These guidelines, of course, assume that you are an adult in good health.

Carotene. The plant form of vitamin A is nontoxic. Large amounts may cause a yellowing of the skin that will subside with a reduced intake, but the condition is not harmful. Don’t confuse nontoxic carotene with synthetic vitamin A or vitamin A in fish – liver oils, however, which may cause headache, skin problems, fatigue, and other problems at daily doses above 25,000 international units. And during pregnancy, women should take vitamin A only as prescribed by a doctor.

The carotene vitamin A factor alone could help lower the chances of certain forms of cancer by 30 to 50:percent. The potential benefits of vitamins C and E. Like carotene, these two vitamins have antioxidant properties now believed to help in preventing the formation of cancer-causing substances.

That link diets low in vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables to extraordinarily. High rated cancer of the esophagus. Supplementation with both vitamins E and C helps to reduce the formation of gene-altering mutagens in the intestinal tract. It is suspected that by keeping those mutagens at bay, the cancer process can be discouraged. The anti-cancer effect of selenium deserves serious study, particularly because adding the mineral to drinking water helps protect test animals from cancer-causing chemicals.

Cutting back on all fats, but for fiber, the story is more complicated.

Only the insoluble form of fiber that abounds in whole grain foods, beans, and some fruits and vegetables is now believed to offer a protective effect.*(Nening A N. By PH & J B H)