Diets High In Fat, Low In Fruit & Vegetables Linked To Bladder Cancer

A bowl of fruitA low intake of fruit and vegetables, and a high fat diet may be risk factors for bladder cancer according to the findings of a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in April 2000.

The study involved the analysis of 38 previous research studies on the impact of diet on bladder cancer. The researchers looked at six dietary variables: high meat intake, high fat intake, low vegetable consumption, low fruit consumption, low intake of retinol (vitamin A), and low intake of beta-carotene.

Low fruit consumption, low vegetable consumption, and a high intake of fat were all linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer. Diets low in fruit were associated with a 40% increase in bladder cancer risk, diets low in vegetables led to a 16% increase in risk while diets high in fat were associated with a 37% increase in the risk of bladder cancer.

Diets low in beta-carotene were associated with a 10% increased risk of bladder cancer however this association was inconsistent across the studies and was not statistically significant. Both meat consumption and retinol intake did not appear to be associated with bladder cancer.

The authors concluded that: “The results of this meta-analysis support the hypothesis that diets high in vegetable and fruit intake and low in fat intake reduce the risk of bladder cancer”.

Bladder cancer is currently the sixth most common form of cancer in the United States with around 12,000 people dying from the disease each year. Bladder cancer is around twice as common in men than women and is slightly less common in African Americans and Asians compared to whites.

The most well established risk factor for bladder cancer is tobacco use with around 40% of all bladder cancers thought to be caused by cigarette smoking. Other risk factors for bladder cancer include low levels of fluid consumption, chronic bladder inflammation, a family history of bladder cancer, and occupational exposure to carcinogens such as benzadine. Around a third of all bladder cancers occur in people with no known risk factors for the disease.