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Vitamin link to womb cancer

Monday October 19th, 2009

Women who take large quantities of vitamin supplements may increase their risk of getting cancer of the womb, a European conference has been told.

Researchers have linked consumption of folic acid and supplements of vitamin B2, B6 and B12 to one kind of cancer of the womb, the conference of the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology was told.

The findings were revealed by Dr Stefano Uccella, of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA.

They come from a 20 year analysis of more than post-menopausal 23,000 women from Iowa, USA.

Dr Uccella said it had been expected that supplements would protect health - but instead taking high levels linked to a doubling of the risk of developing type 2 uterine cancer.

In north America folic acid and vitamins are added to food to protect against spina bifida.

Dr Uccella said there was evidence that taking moderate quantities - some 200-600 mcg per day - might help to reduce the risk of the disease.

The conference in Belgrade, Serbia, also heard from Nobel prize winner Professor Harald zur Hausen, who called for global vaccination of boys as well as girls against HPV, the virus linked to cervical cancer.

Professor zur Hausen, who discovered the link, said vaccination would help protect men from other cancers, such as oral cancer.

He said: "If we wish to achieve eradication within a reasonable period of time, we will need to vaccinate both sexes, and research has shown that boys respond to vaccination in the same way as girls."

* Meanwhile British researchers told how they used cutted edged technology to film the spread of breast cancer cells.

The images have helped scientists in London, UK, identify a gene, TGF beta, responsible for enabling cancer cells to spread from a tumour into the blood.

Dr Helen George, of Cancer Research UK, said: "This crucial research unravels for the first time how single breast cancer cells leave a tumour and start to move around the body - something that until now has not been fully understood. Sadly the majority of women who die from breast cancer do so because their disease has spread from the breast to other parts of the body.

"This research opens doors to enable scientists to find ways to block the spread of cancer - and improve survival."

Tags: Alternative Therapy | Cancer | Diet & Food | Women’s Health & Gynaecology

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