WASHINGTON, Apr 15:
Eating high amounts of carbohydrates and sugar during the year prior to treatment can increase the risks of head and neck cancer recurrence and mortality, a study has found.
However, eating moderate amounts of fats and starchy foods such as whole grains, potatoes and legumes after treatment could have protective benefits, reducing patients’ risks of disease recurrence and death, said Anna E Arthur, a professor at the University of Illinois in the US.
Researchers tracked the pre- and post-treatment diets and health outcomes of more than 400 cancer patients.
Participants were followed for an average of 26 months after they were first diagnosed and treated for squamous-cell carcinoma of the head or neck.
Participants’ typical intake of food, beverages and supplements was assessed for the year prior to diagnosis and for one year post-treatment.
Patients who consumed the lowest amounts of simple carbohydrates – which included refined grains, desserts and sugar-sweetened beverages – consumed about 1.3 servings daily, compared with about 4.4 servings by patients who were considered high intake.
Patients who consumed the most total carbohydrates and sugars – in the forms of sucrose, fructose, lactose and maltose – in the year preceding cancer treatment were at greater risk of mortality from any cause during the follow-up period, Arthur said.
Among the study population, the most commonly diagnosed cancers were in the oral cavity and the oropharynx, which includes the tonsils, the base of the tongue and surrounding tissues.
More than 69 per cent of participants were diagnosed when the disease was at stage 3 or stage 4. Patients’ average age at diagnosis was about 61. (PTI)