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     How is it possible for some foods to decrease our risk of cancer”    



Subject Nursing Pages 4 Style APA


How is it Possible for Some Foods to Decrease our Risk of Cancer?

            Diet and nutrition has an important role in the progression and treatment of tumors. The research question that ought to be answered by this essay is how it is possible for some foods to decrease our risk of cancer? Important information to be understood is identification of specific foods/nutrients and their mechanism in prevention of cancers. The selected article that informs this paper is by Patel et al. (2017) since it provides evidence-based discussion on a range of foods and nutrients in relation to cancer. However, foods that tend to increase the risk of cancer will be beyond the scope is this paper; therefore, they will not be included in this analysis. There is a strong indication that certain foods may help people reduce their risks of developing cancers.

            High intake of fruits and vegetables show an increased link in reduction of the risk of cancer. Sufficient evidence has demonstrated that uncooked vegetables and fruits are associated with low risk of esophageal cancer. Some selected macronutrients in fruits and vegetables such as beta-carotene and other types of carotenoids infer a protective effect against development of tumors (Patel et al., 2018).  There is an inverse relationship between the intake of fruits and the risk of breast cancer (Thun et al., 2017). Dietary nutrients such as beta- carotene, total carotenoids, vitamin C, and high serum concentration of alpha-tocopherol are associated with a reduced risk of mutations or deoxyribonucleic acid damage through reduction of inflammation and the oxidative stress and have a reduced effect on development of pancreatic cancer. Similarly, high concentration of beta-carotene is associated with a reduced risk for development of lung cancer. Beta-carotene can prevent or reduce the risk of lung carcinogenesis (Patel et al., 2018).

Vitamins have important protective effect against cancer development in the body. Vitamin C plays a central role on helping slow down the carcinogen formation and imparts a protective effect on deoxyribonucleic acid molecule from a mutagenic attack. In addition, epithelial cells are susceptible to deficiency of vitamin A; hence, increased risk of developing cancer. However, diet rich in vitamin A will supply epithelial cells with sufficient quantities of vitamin A, thus, reducing the risk of developing cancer. Hence, vitamin A confers a defensive mechanism against cancer development in epithelial cells. High consumption of green leafy vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of development of skin cancer. Similarly, high intake of vitamin A, C, D, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene as well as lutein, cryptoxanthin, and lycopene are associated with a reduced risk of development of melanoma as compared to low intake. Vitamin C and E have antioxidant properties and hence they can effectively scavenge free radicles and deleterious molecules. Vitamin A facilitates proliferation, differentiation as well as maintenance of the skin cells, thus, reducing the oxidizing effect of ultra-violet light as it hits the skin (Patel et al., 2018). 

            High intake of dietary fiber has also been indicated as having a reduction effect on the risk of colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and stomach cancer. Fibers are thought to lower the risk of colorectal cancers, possibly through alteration of the site of resistant-starch fermentation right from the proximal to the distal colon. The fibers are also thought to alter the metabolism and absorption of carcinogens in food (Patel et al., 2018). There is an inverse relationship between intake of fiber and the risk of breast cancer (Thun et al., 2017).

Omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oils as well as some vegetables can also reduce the risk of colon cancer and breast cancer (Patel et al., 2018).  The fish oil-derived eicosapentaenoic acid has an inflammation modulatory effect on the patients who present with various malignancies. Omega-3 fatty acids have a modulatory effect on the immune system through formation of 5-series leukotrienes and 3-series prostanoids, with low immunosuppressive and pro-inflammatory effects. Eicosapentanoic acid is a naturally occurring form of omega-3 fatty acids that have been demonstrated to have antioxidant, anti-genotoxic, and anti-inflammatory effects through down-regulation of an acute phase response, suppression of interleukin-6 production, and reduced concentrations of C-reactive proteins in many types of cancers (Thun et al., 2017). 

            Certain minerals in diet have fascinated scientists as they try to understand their protective effects against cancers. The key minerals of interest are zinc and selenium. Both zinc and selenium perform anti-cancer roles and have been found to have a strong protective effect against development of esophageal cancer (Patel et al., 2018). Zinc deficiency is associated with increased risk of neck and head cancer. In addition, zinc deficiency is associated with increase in tumor size. Selenium has antioxidant properties and is indicated in prevention of cancers through sequestration of free radicals (Thun et al., 2017).      

            In conclusion, diet and nutrition is an important approach for reducing the risk of cancer. Fruits and vegetable contain vitamin and other antioxidants that lower the risk of cancer through sequestration of free radicals. Omega-3 fatty acids as well as high intake of fiber are associated with lower risk of developing certain cancers as discussed above.



Patel, A., Pathak, Y., Patel, J., & Sutariya, V. (2018). Role of nutritional factors in pathogenesis of cancer. Food Quality and Safety, 2(1), 27-36. https://doi.org/10.1093/fqsafe/fyx033

Thun, M., Linet, M.S., Cerhan, J.R., Haiman, C.A., & Schottenfeld, D. (Eds.). (2017).Cancer epidemiology and prevention (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University





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