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Lung Cancer Health Center

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Diet, Exercise May Cut Lung Cancer Risk

Study Shows Eating Dairy Products, Veggies May Reduce Risk for Women Who Smoke
By Katrina Woznicki
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Nov. 2, 2010 -- Eating dairy products, vegetables, apples, drinking milk or wine, and exercise were found to be protective against lung cancer among women smokers, a study shows.

The study also shows drinking black tea protects against the disease in nonsmoking women, according to a study.

Researchers at the Faculty Hospital Bulovka in Prague, Czech Republic, interviewed 533 female lung cancer patients at the hospital and compared them to 1,971 women who did not have lung cancer to evaluate the impact diet and exercise had on lung cancer risk among women.

Although milk and dairy products, vegetables, apples, wine, and exercise all showed a clinically significant protective effect among women who smoked, it did not show an effect among nonsmokers. Black tea showed a protective effect for nonsmokers, but no such effect for women who did smoke.

The findings were presented at the American College of Chest Physicians annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The study suggests that diet and exercise may have different effects in cancer risk depending on smoking status.

Lung Cancer in the U.S.

Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer. According to the CDC, in 2006 (the latest data available) an estimated 106,374 men and 90,080 women were diagnosed in the U.S. with lung cancer. Lung cancer accounted for more deaths than colorectal, prostate, and breast cancers combined.

Smoking is a major risk factor for developing lung cancer and other types of cancer. Researchers are also interested in the effect diet may play in cancer risk and development. A study published in September in European Journal of Cancer reported an association between eating a high amount of fruits and vegetables and a decreased risk of lung cancer. A 2009 study published in the journal Lung Cancer found drinking large amounts of green tea was associated with a lowered risk for lung cancer, but no such association was found for black tea.

The researchers of the latest study say their findings warrant additional research to investigate how black tea, dairy, and exercise affect lung cancer risk differently among female smokers and nonsmokers.

This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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