Vegetarian diet cuts cancer risk - study

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By David Liu, PHD

Sunday Feb 17, 2013 ( -- A new study recently released in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention suggests that eating a vegetarian diet can significantly lower the risk of cancer.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in the U.S. and it is believed that dietary factors are responsible for at least 30 percent of all cancers in the West.

Yessenia Tantamango-Bartley from Loma Linda University School of Public Health in Loma Linda, California and colleagues conducted the study and found vegetarians were 9 percent less likely to develop cancer, compared with non-vegetarians.

The study of 2939 incidence cancer cases found the risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract was 24 percent reduced  among vegetarians compared with non-vegetarians.

Vegan diets were even more protective against cancer, the study found.  Those who followed a vegan diet were 16 percent less likely to develop all cancers and female vegan diet users were 34 percent less likely to develop female-specific cancers such as ovarian cancer an d breast cancer. compared to those who did not eat the diet.

Similarly, lacto-ovo-vegetarians were found at a 25 percent decreased risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal system, compared with those who did not use a vegetarian diet.

The study concluded "Vegetarian diets seem to confer protection against cancer."

"Vegan diet seems to confer lower risk for overall and female-specific cancer than other dietary patterns. The lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets seem to confer protection from cancers of the gastrointestinal tract," the authors state in their report.

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