This nut may be a 'major contributor' to mouth cancer

Mouth cancer is a devastating disease that claims more lives than car accidents do every year. Research shows that certain dietary choices, including this nut, can lead to this deadly condition.

This nut may be a 'major contributor' to mouth cancer
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This nut may be a 'major contributor' to mouth cancer

Figures from the 2022 Mouth Cancer UK Report show that cases of mouth cancer have risen to a record high.

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8864 people in the UK alone were diagnosed with it, with 3034 having lost their lives last year. Worldwide mouth cancer affects 650,000 per year.

Sadly, dietary sources can be the cause of changes that lead to the disease, with this nut being possibly a ‘major’ contributor.

What nut should you avoid?

Though a high nut intake is associated with a decreased risk of cancer, not all cultures use this food in pursuit of good health.

In some parts of South and Southeast Asia, the tradition of chewing betel nuts has played an important role in social customs for centuries.

But there is convincing evidence that the habit leads to oral submucous fibrosis - a condition that predisposes the body to oral cancer. Moreover, when betel nut is used along with tobacco it can cause leukoplakia, which is also a potential malignancy in the oral cavity.

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Posted by Lê Đạt on Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The seed, which comes from the areca nut, continues to be chewed by millions of people around the world, despite carrying a potential risk of cancer.

The substance is also legal in the UK, where it is commonly used by populations settling in India, Asia and East Africa.

But betel nut is not the only potential cause of mouth cancer. These foods have to be consumed in moderation too.

Be careful with sugar to avoid cancer risk

According to a cosmetic dentist and clinical lead for Waldron Dental Clinic Sundeep Patel, you should always be mindful of your sugar intake as sugar can advance to oral issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. These complications are major contributors to tooth loss, a significant risk factor for oral cancer.

Excessive alcohol consumption can cause cancer

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According to Martin Preston, founder of Delamere rehab, any amount of alcohol consumption can increase the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, voice box, oesophagus and breast. Furthermore, if you were to drink in the region of three or more drinks every day, this can lead to developing stomach cancer, liver cancer and colorectal cancer.

Fried food can lead to health problems

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Research has consistently shown that fried food is directly linked to stomach, rectal and colon cancer, but its involvement in mouth cancer is less clear-cut. Several studies have found a moderately increased risk of oropharyngeal carcinoma in men.

High quantities of iron can contribute to mouth cancer

Iron, which participates in some fundamental cellular functions has also been associated with oral squamous cell carcinoma when consumed in high quantities. This is explained by the fact that it can lead to the production of nitrogen compounds and catalyses the formation of free radicals that cause cell damage.

Be careful with red meat

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Red meat contains compounds like nitrates and nitrites that are known to contribute to the development of oral cancer. When cooked, meat is associated with severe carcinogenic mechanisms which generate toxic compounds for the body.

Sources used:

- Express: 'Large magnitude risk': Nut eaten by millions may be 'major' contributor to mouth cancer

- Mouth Cancer Foundation

Eating ultra-processed foods like chips and soda could give you this type of cancer, according to study Eating ultra-processed foods like chips and soda could give you this type of cancer, according to study