Ansley Roche, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery (Otolaryngology), shares important information on risk factors for head and neck cancers.
"April is Head and Neck Cancer Awareness month. As the 7th most common type of cancer, head and neck cancer can affect several critical functions, namely speaking, eating, and breathing. Smoking cigarettes and alcohol use are well-known risk factors for developing head and neck cancer. But did you know that what we eat also affects our risk of developing head and neck cancer? A diet low in fruits and vegetables is a risk factor for developing head and neck cancer. In fact, consuming a high amount of fruits and vegetables decreases by half the risk of developing head and neck cancer.** The protective effect of fruits and vegetables has been found to be present for other cancers as well, including prostate and colon cancer. So the next time you are at the grocery store, stock up in the fruit and vegetable aisles!"
** Edefonti V, Hashibe M, Ambrogi F et al. Nutrient-based dietary patterns and the risk of head and neck cancer: a pooled analysis in the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology consortium. Ann Oncol 2012; 23: 1869–1880