General Article Are vegetarians less prone to cancer?

Topic Selected: Dietary Choices
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We’re always being told to tuck into fruit and vegetables to reduce our risk of cancer and other diseases, but few studies have examined the potential benefits of being vegetarian. Until now. A team led by Professor Timothy Key, deputy director of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University, recently examined the effect of a vegetarian diet on the risk of developing cancer.

The team tracked the number of cancers that developed in more than 61,000 people aged 20 to 89 over a period of 12 years. Just over 32,000 were meat eaters, over 8,000 ate fish but not meat, and almost 21,000 were totally vegetarian. The results, published in the British Journal of Cancer, showed that vegetarians had a 12% lower incidence of any kind of cancer. More specifically they had a 44% lower incidence of stomach cancer, a 53% lower incidence of bladder cancer and a 45% lower incidence of cancers of the blood.

It has to be said that the numbers who developed cancer were relatively small – 3,350 alt...

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