Go green to beat cancer

Britain’s mouth cancer campaigners have welcomed news that eating your greens could cut the risk of cancer.

The British Dental Health Foundation – organisers of the annual Mouth Cancer Action Week – has urged the public to get their five and day and more for 2009.

A healthy eating New Year’s resolution could help reduce the 5,000 mouth cancer incidences in the UK each year, according to experts.

Scientists studying half a million retirees in the US report that each extra serving of fruit and vegetables per 1,000 calories was linked to a 6% reduction in the risk of head and neck cancers, including mouth cancer.

Perhaps more importantly – switching to a healthy eating lifestyle could make a huge difference to those not in the habit. A third of oral cancers are linked to poor diet.

The study found people going one beyond the recommended five a day, to six portions, were 30% less likely to develop the cancers than those eating just one and a half servings of fruit and vegetables.

Researchers at the US National Cancer Institute followed over 50s and their diets for a period of five years to establish the results.

The Foundation’s Mouth Cancer Action Week campaign runs each November, urging the public to take positive steps to prevent a disease which kills one person every five hours in the UK.

Steps can be as simple as improving diet or quitting tobacco – linked to 80% of oral cancers. Also vital are self-examinitions for warning signs and visiting the dentist regularly for oral cancer screenings. Early detection of oral cancer improves survival chances to 9 in 10 cases.

Warning signs include ulcers which do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches in the mouth and unusual swellings or changes in the mouth and neck.

The campaign’s slogan – ‘if in doubt get checked out’ – emphasised the need for regular professional checkups.

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