While there is no known cure for colon cancer, scientists believe diet soda can help reduce the recurrence of the disease, according to a new report.
Researchers from the Yale Cancer Center recently conducted a study, published in the Public Library of Science journal, to explore the relationship between foods and the illness.
“We wanted to ask the question if, after cancer has developed and advanced, would a change in lifestyle — drinking artificially sweetened beverages — change the outcome of the cancer post-surgery,” senior author Charles S. Fuchs asked in a statement.
For the assessment, his team examined more than 1,000 colon cancer patients enrolled in a National Cancer Institute-supported clinical trial. Participants completed nutrition questionnaires that asked about their consumption of more than 130 foods and drinks. Scientists then tracked cancer recurrence and patient death rates for about seven years.
After analyzing the results, they found that those who drank one or more 12-ounce servings of a soft drink daily had a 46 percent improved risk of cancer recurrence or death, compared to those who didn’t drink them.
Soft drinks were defined as caffeinated colas, caffeine-free colas, and other carbonated beverages.
“Artificially sweetened drinks have a checkered reputation in the public because of purported health risks that have never really been documented,” Fuchs said. “Our study clearly shows they help avoid cancer recurrence and death in patients who have been treated for advanced colon cancer, and that is an exciting finding.”
While the researchers are unclear why there is a link between diet sodas and colon cancer, they think the health impact of such soft drinks should be studied further.
“Concerns that artificial sweeteners may increase the incidence of obesity, diabetes, and cancer have been raised,” Fuchs said, “but studies on issues such as weight gain and diabetes have been very mixed, and, regarding cancer, epidemiologic studies in humans have not demonstrated such relationships.”
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