We investigated whether the consumption of fruit and vegetables lowered cancer mortality in a cohort of 2112 Welsh men ages 45-69 years (The Caerphilly Study), which was followed-up for 13.8 years. At baseline (between 1979 and 1983), participants completed a 56-item food frequency questionnaire from which the consumption of fruit and vegetables was calculated. Relative risks (RR) were estimated with Cox proportional hazard analysis, with death from various types of cancer as a dependent variable, and fruit, vegetables, vitamin C, beta-carotene, dietary fiber, and potential confounders as independent variables. Mean consumption of vegetables and fruit at baseline was 118 g/day and 83 g/day, respectively. During follow-up 114 men died from cancer, including 51 men who died from respiratory tract cancer and 45 men who died from digestive tract cancer. Fruit consumption and the intake of dietary fiber were inversely related to respiratory tract cancer, but after adjustment for potential confounders including age, smoking, and social class, the association with fruit consumption became nonsignificant. Vegetable and fruit consumption was, independently from other risk factors, inversely related to mortality from cancer of the digestive tract (P for trend = 0.021), mainly due to an inverse association with fruit consumption (RR for the highest quartile versus the lowest was 0.3; 95% CI, 0.1-0.8). Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and dietary fiber were not significantly associated with cancers of the digestive tract. Vegetable and fruit consumption was also inversely related to all-cause cancer mortality, and the strongest association was observed for fruit consumption (RR in the highest versus lowest quartile was 0.5; 95% CI, 0.3-1.0). Consumption of vegetables and particularly the consumption of fruit could considerably lower the risk of dying from cancer in middle-aged men.

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