|AICR fellow studies impact of diet on head and neck cancers|
|February 12, 2013|
In honor of February's being National Cancer Prevention Month, the news team spoke recently with Patrick Bradshaw, PhD, assistant professor of nutrition at Gillings School of Global Public Health and American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)/Marilyn Gentry Fellow, about his research on the relationship of nutrition to head and neck cancers.
Dr. Patrick Bradshaw and colleagues recently have reported the influence of dietary behaviors upon the development of head and neck cancers. Using data from the Carolina Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology study, Bradshaw analyzed questionnaire responses from adults in central North Carolina, both with and without head and neck cancer, to derive dietary patterns. He and his team found that a pattern high in fruits, vegetables and lean meats was associated with lower incidence of head and neck cancers, particularly of pharyngeal and oral cavity cancers. They also determined that a diet high in fried foods, high-fat content, and processed meats and sweets was associated with an increase in risk of laryngeal cancer.
"Many studies of diet and cancer focus on one food or nutrient," Bradshaw says. "But diet is complex, and it's hard to tease apart the effect of any single food or nutrient in a free-living population. If you're a healthy eater, it's hard to say whether your reduced cancer risk was the fact that you ate a lot of blueberries, or that you ate a lot of broccoli or that you didn't eat a lot of sweets."
The research also suggested that the benefit of the lean meat, fruit and vegetable dietary pattern was stronger among black study participants. The study is the first to examine the relationship of dietary patterns to head and neck cancers in a racially diverse population.
As the current Marilyn Gentry Fellow, Bradshaw continues his research to explore the relationship between nutrition and survivorship after cancer diagnosis.
"We still have a lot to learn about how nutrition impacts the survivorship experience," Bradshaw says. "The Marilyn Gentry Fellowship is an incredible opportunity--it's allowing me to focus my time on this topic and develop a strong research program in this field of research."
|Last updated February 13, 2013|