While encouraging children to eat their fruits and veggies is a common refrain for most parents, new research led by a pediatric oncology expert from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center underscores that diets high in antioxidant-rich foods can have particular benefits for young cancer patients. Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology , a journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the cohort study involving more than 500 pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) showed that those who ate diets rich in vitamins A and C and carotenoids were less likely to develop bacterial infections or mucositis during the first phase of their treatment.
Led by Kara Kelly, MD, the Waldemar J. Kaminski Endowed Chair of Pediatrics at Roswell Park and Chair of the Roswell Park Oishei Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Program, the study reports that children who ate plenty of antioxidant-rich foods both at the start of their treatment and at the end of their first month of treatment had a lower risk of infection or mucositis than those children who did not, or who only took dietary supplements.
This is the first study to suggest that a high-quality diet, rather than taking supplements, during ALL treatment may be beneficial in reducing these common toxicities. It really backs up what my research team has been promoting: that you can't get these benefits by just taking a dietary supplement. There are protective components in whole foods that you don't get when you take a supplement." Kara Kelly, MD, the Waldemar J. Kaminski Endowed Chair of Pediatrics at Roswell Park and Chair of the Roswell Park Oishei Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Program
ALL is one of the more common childhood cancers. While it is a potentially curable disease, treatments are linked with high rates of infection and mucositis, an inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the digestive tract. Related Stories
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