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News / August 15, 2014

Mediterranean diet lowers mouth cancer risk

by Guy Hiscott

A Mediterranean diet can significantly lower the risk of developing mouth cancer, research has found.

The study found that patients who had a diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrains, fish and olive oil can halve the risk of developing the disease.

Researchers also discovered that young adults, non-smokers and those with a higher level of education came out on top.

A Mediterranean diet includes a low fast food intake, as well as sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grain products and processed or energy-dense foods with moderate red meat and alcohol intake.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said: ‘Italy has some of the lowest recorded cases of mouth cancer in Europe, and this study is a perfect explanation of why that is.

‘The number of cases of mouth cancer is continuing to grow. More women are contracting the disease and there’s an increasing risk of younger people being affected, especially by HPV related cancer.

‘As early detection plays a pivotal role in survival rates, it is really important that everyone knows the warning signs for mouth cancer.’

Researchers analysed data from a study carried out between 1997 and 2009 in Italy and Switzerland, including 768 confirmed oral and pharyngeal cancer cases and 2078 hospital controls.

The results were published in the British Journal of Cancer.