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Vegetarian diet 'lowers risk of cancer'

Vegetarians are 12% less likely to develop cancer in than meat eaters, new research suggests.

A study of more than 61,000 people found that over twelve years of follow-up, the risk of being diagnosed with cancers of the stomach, bladder or the blood was 12% lower in vegetarians than in people who ate meat.

During the study, 3,350 participants were diagnosed with cancer. Of these, 68% (2,204) were meat eaters, 24% (829) were vegetarians and 9.5% (317) ate fish but noe meat.

The differences in the risk of developing some cancers, such as blood cancers including leukaemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, was as much as 45% lower in vegetarians than in meat eaters.

The increased risk of some cancers seen in some cancers was independent of other lifestyle factors including smoking, alcohol intake and obesity, researchers said.

Study leader Professor Tim Key, professor of epidemiology at the Cancer Research UK epidemiology unit at Oxford University, said: ‘Our large study looking at cancer risk in vegetarians found the likelihood of people developing some cancers is lower among vegetarians than among people who eat meat.

‘In particular vegetarians were much less likely to develop cancers of the blood which include leukaemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. More research is needed to substantiate these results and to look for reasons for the differences.'

Vegetarian diet lowers cancer risk

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