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New data on link between cancer and nutrition discussed at European symposium

European experts in cancer and nutrition are meeting in Zurich, Switzerland late this month to discuss cutting-edge research in one of the most important and fiercely debated topics in cancer prevention: the link between diet and cancer.

There is growing evidence that many cancers may be prevented through healthy lifestyle, including a nutritionally balanced diet. In addition, nutritional problems can also have a negative impact on cancer management and the lives of patients.

The latest research findings on these topics will be discussed at the ESMO Symposium on Cancer and Nutrition (20-21 March 2009), organized by the European Society for Medical Oncology in collaboration with the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) and the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC).

"Nutrition plays an important role in every stage of our fight against cancer, from prevention to treatment and alleviation of the disease," said Dr Florian Strasser from the Oncological Palliative Medicine department at the Kantonsspital St. Gallen, co-chair of the Symposium's scientific committee. "But it is vital that the advice given to people is based on proper scientific evidence."

The ESMO Symposium will discuss the latest evidence on the link between diet and cancer, the impact of cancer on nutritional issues, in staging and alleviating cachexia. It will also provide medical oncologists, dieticians, palliative care specialists, home care providers and nurses with valuable information on how to properly consider nutritional issues in cancer management.

"An inappropriate diet and physical inactivity are important risk factors for some cancers," said Dr Andreas Ullrich, WHO Medical Officer for cancer control. Dr Ullrich will give a welcome speech to symposium participants during which he will explain that the WHO Global Strategy on Diet and Physical Activity provides a comprehensive set of policy recommendations to promote healthy diets and physical activity. These policy options range from mass media campaigns to educate people to fiscal and regulatory policies to influence agriculture, the food industry and urban design.

Presentations at the meeting will include how the traditional Mediterranean diet can help reduce cancer risk, nutritional advice to breast cancer survivors, and the role of nutrition and exercise in managing fatigue, a major problem experienced by cancer patients.

Other presentations will include new data on topics such as:

  • Childhood nutrition and later breast cancer risk
  • The anti-tumour effects of green tea
  • Malnutrition and patient distress in cancer
  • Possible anti-tumour effects of soy extracts in mice
  • Estrogens in beef and cancer risk


Contact: ESMO Press Office
European Society for Medical Oncology

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