Yet another reason to eat more veggies! -
The researchers said they found marked differences between meat-eaters and vegetarians in the propensity to cancers of the lymph and the blood, with vegetarians just over half as likely to develop these forms of the disease.
In the case of multiple myeloma, a relatively rare cancer of the bone marrow, vegetarians were 75% less likely to develop the disease than meat-eaters.
At the moment these findings are not strong enough to ask for particularly large changes in the diets of people following an average balanced diet
The reduction was less notable for fish-eaters with these cancers. The reasons, researchers said, were unclear, but potential mechanisms could include viruses and mutation-causing compounds in meat – or alternatively that vegetables confer special protection.
There were also striking differences in rates of stomach cancer. Although the numbers of cases were small, fish-eaters and vegetarians were about a third as likely to develop the disease as meat-eaters.
Previous research has already implicated processed meats in stomach cancer, so these findings were not entirely surprising. It is thought N-nitroso compounds found in these meats may damage DNA, while the high temperatures they are cooked at may also produce carcinogens.
But the same reduction for vegetarians was not found with cancers of the bowel, one of the most common forms of the disease. The vegetarians in the group in fact had a slightly higher rate of cancers of the colon and the rectum, although not significantly so.
Click BBC NEWS | Health | Vegetarians ‘avoid more cancers’ to read the full article.