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Certain vitamin supplements may increase lung cancer risk, especially in smokers
Date:2/29/2008

om the desire of many people to mimic the benefits of a healthy diet with a convenient pill says Tim Byers, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in an editorial in the same issue of the journal. However, he points out, fruits contain not only vitamins but also many hundreds of other phytochemical compounds whose functions are not well understood.

The World Cancer Research Fund and the American Cancer Society recommend two servings of fruit each day, based on a study that previously found a 20 percent increase in cancer risk among people who ate the least amount of fruit. This recommendation would likely lead to a reduced risk for lung cancer, as well as reduced risk of several other cancers and cardiovascular disease, writes Dr. Byers. However, any benefit to the population of smokers from increasing fruit intake to reduce cancer risk by 20 percent would be more than offset if even a small proportion of smokers decided to continue tobacco use in favor of such a diet change.

These findings have broad public health implications, given the large population of current and former smokers and the widespread use of vitamin supplements. Future studies may focus on other components of fruits and vegetables that may explain the decreased risk [of cancer] that has been associated with fruits and vegetables, writes Dr. Slatore. Meanwhile, he says, our results should prompt clinicians to counsel patients that these supplements are unlikely to reduce the risk of lung cancer and may be detrimental.


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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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