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Strawberries might help prevent esophageal cancer

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Cancer of the esophagus

Strawberries naturally protect cells from becoming cancerous

Eating freeze dried strawberries may be a natural remedy for preventing cancer of the esophagus. Tong Chen, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, division of medical oncology, department of internal medicine at The Ohio State University reports eating freeze dried strawberries for six months reduces the chances that abnormal or pre-cancerous type cells in the esophagus will become cancerous.

Chen presented the findings at the 102nd annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Dr. Chen previously found freeze dried strawberries worked in rats to halt changes that lead to esophageal cancer. In a phase 1B study the scientists studied people who already had histological changes in the cells of the esophagus and at high risk for developing the disease.

The team is studying squamous cell cancer that is the most common type of cancer of the esophagus. The participants were from China that has one of the highest rates of squamous cell carcinoma.

Freeze dried strawberries decrease changes in esophagus that lead to cancer

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The authors explain they used freeze dried strawberries because they are concentrated and 10 times more potent than those containing water. Consuming 60 grams a day for six months reversed precancerous changes in the esophagus in 29 of 36 study participants, shown by histological examination of the cells before and after the study.

Chen says, "Strawberries may be an alternative or work together with other chemopreventive drugs for the prevention of esophageal cancer. But, we will need to test this in randomized placebo-controlled trials in the future."

It may be that strawberries can prevent esophageal cancer. Risk factors include high alcohol intake, chronic GERD (acid reflux), smoking and smoking that irritate the esophagus and lead to changes in the structure of the cells that line the esophagus. The new study showed eating freeze dried strawberries reversed changes in the cells that can lead to esophageal cancer.

Photo credit: Morgue File