The American Council on Science and Health (professional home of reason contributor Todd Seavey), offers a pair of well-rounded reports on developments in cancer prevention:
1) The FDA has give preliminary approval to a drug that "lowered breast cancer incidence by about 50 percent." The drug, which was originally intended to treat osteoporosis, was tested on women with high risk for breast cancer.
2) Meanwhile, a high fruit and veggie diet fails to work similar magic:
It's been widely accepted that such diets are generally healthful, partly because they contain supposedly anticarcinogenic substances, although questions have been raised about the diet-cancer link before this. A group of researchers at seven different clinical centers collaborated to examine this question in over 3,000 women who had been previously treated for early-stage breast cancer. [One group ate a diet ultra high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat.] In contrast, the control group was simply advised to eat the government-recommended "Five-a-Day" fruits and vegetables. The women were followed for an average of just over seven years.
There was no significant difference in their cancer outcomes–recurrence or mortality:
The take-home message for breast cancer survivors? Eating a diet with a reasonable component of fruits and vegetables is a healthful move, but pushing the consumption to extremes is unlikely to provide a benefit. This is another vote for moderation.
Take-home message for boob-bearers and those who love them: Look forward to a future with fewer bean sprouts and more pills. Sounds good to me.
Read more about the ups and downs of clinical trials in Kerry Howley's feature in the current issue.