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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 December 2005, 00:21 GMT
High-veg diet 'wards off cancer'
Fruit and vegetables
Certain fruit and vegetables were found to be particularly effective
Eating at least five portions a day of certain fruit and vegetables could cut the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by 50%, US researchers believe.

Onions, garlic, beans, carrots, corn, dark leafy vegetables and citrus fruits were among the most protective foods, according to the study.

A University of California team compared the diets of 2,200 people.

Cancer experts said previous studies had revealed similar findings, but more research was still needed.

More than 10,000 people die each year in the UK from pancreatic cancer. It remains largely untreatable, with the five-year survival rate at under 3%.

Dark leafy vegetables
Sweet potatoes
Citrus fruits

The report, published in the Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention journal, said eating five portions daily of the most protective vegetables cuts the risk in half.

Or it said eating any nine fruit or vegetables could have the same effect.

Raw vegetables were found to be more protective than cooked ones, the study said after conducting interviews with 532 people with the cancer, and 1,700 people who did not have the disease.

But researchers acknowledged the results may have been influenced by food which may often be eaten with the vegetables.

Report co-author Elizabeth Holly said: "Pancreatic cancer is not nearly as common as breast or lung cancer, but its diagnosis and treatment are particularly difficult.

"Finding strong confirmation that simple life choices can provide significant protection from pancreatic cancer may be one of the most practical ways to reduce the incidence of this dreadful disease."

Dr Julie Sharp, cancer information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "Previous research has implied that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables may help to prevent pancreatic cancer.

"This research adds to these findings, but large-scale studies are vital to confirm whether fruit and vegetables really have an effect on pancreatic cancer risk."

And she added other lifestyle factors, such as smoking, also played a key role.

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