Spinach 'fights skin cancer relapse'

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spinachSkin cancer survivors could halve their chance of relapse by eating generous helpings of leafy green vegetables, new Australian research suggests.

Queensland scientists have investigated the impact of healthy dietary habits on skin cancer and discovered that green vegies can help guard against the disease.

They showed that spinach and silverbeet were linked with a reduction in the risk of skin cancer, particularly among those with a previous history of the disease.

Dr Jolieke van der Pols, from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, said these vegetables contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and other bioactive substances that are known to have anti-cancer properties.

"Green leafy vegetables are good sources of folic acid, vitamins A, C and E, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, and other components which may help boost the skin's natural defence against damage caused by UV rays," Dr van der Pols said.

"This new evidence suggests that an increase in consumption of these foods may help to reduce the risk of skin cancer recurring among those with a previous history, by up to 55 per cent."

Skin cancer accounts for 80 per cent of all new cancers diagnosed each year in Australia and it kills more than 1,300 people annually.

It is also the most expensive cancer to treat, with treatment of non-melanoma skin cancers costing Australia more than $300 million a year.

©AAP 2006

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