Matthew B. Schabath, Ph.D. led a team at the University of Texas in a case-control study that followed 1,674 patients with lung cancer with 1,735 matched healthy controls. From July 1995 through October 2003 they were surveyed to ascertain aspects of their health and diet. In their study released today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers announce a correlation was found between plant-based foods and reduced lung disease. This is from an article describing the study on Intelihealth:
A diet higher in plant-derived compounds known as phytoestrogens is linked with a lower lung cancer risk, according to a study in the September 28 issue of JAMA.
Phytoestrogens are plant-derived nonsteroidal compounds found in soy products, grains, carrots, spinach, broccoli, and other fruits and vegetables, according to background information in the article. They have weak estrogen-like activity.
The three main classes of phytoestrogens are isoflavones, lignans, and cumestrans. A fourth group of plant-derived steroidal compounds believed to have estrogenic properties are the phytosterols.
Phytoestrogens have been shown to have a protective effect against some solid tumors, but there has been little epidemiologic research focused on dietary intake of phytoestrogens and lung cancer risk.
This is especially interesting in light of yesterday's article in The New York Times which questioned the ability of diet to play a role at all in stopping cancer.