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Two new studies released this month addressed the possible links between diet and lymphoma risk.  The results show that we need to emphasize fruits and vegetables and limit processed meats, fats, cheese, and desserts.

In a large study conducted in Canada of over 1600 people with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and over 5,000 people with no lymphoma, researchers attempted to determine whether the risks of some types of NHL were affected differently by diet than others.  Results did not show a significant difference between NHL types with regard to diet/risk factors.  Overall, though, they found an increased risk of NHL for people who ate more processed meats, cheese, eggs, and desserts, and for those who consume high levels of fats.  In this particular study, vegetables and/or fruits did not appear to reduce lymphoma risk.

In an American study of 450 lymphoma patients and 400 people without lymphoma, researchers found that individuals who consumed three or more servings of vegetables per day (not including potatoes) had a 40% lower risk of developing lymphoma compared to people who ate less than one serving per day.  They found that green, leafy vegetables and those from the broccoli and cabbage family reduced risk the most, though other types of vegetables and fruits also reduced risk.   They also found that higher intakes of selenium and zinc were associated with lower risk of NHL.

Other studies of diet and lymphoma risk have shown varying results, though an increased risk for high processed meats/fats/dairy products and a reduced risk for higher intake of vegetables/fruits have appeared in several studies.   Differences in methods, especially in evaluating relative amounts of specific foods and food components in the diet, may account for these differing results.  More study is needed in this area.


Kelemen, L.E.; Cerhan, J.; Lim, U.; Davis, S.; Cozen, W.; Schenk, M.; Hartge, P.; and Ward, M..  Association of vegetables, fruits, and antioxidant vitamins with non-Hodgkin�s lymphoma: a population-based case-control study.  Presented at American Association for Cancer Reearch Third Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, October, 2004.  Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Mayo Clinic, National Cancer Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Purdue, M.P.; Bassani, D.G.; Klar, N.S.; Sloan, M.; Kreiger, N.; and the Canadian Cancer Registries Epidemiology Research Group.  Dietary factors and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by histologic subtype: a case-control analysis.  Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 13(10): 1665-1676, October, 2004.  Cancer Care Ontario; Federal University of Pelotas (Brazil); University of Toronto.

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