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Do Black Raspberries Hold the Key to Oral Cancer Prevention?

Oral cancer prevention is a pressing medical issue, and one that scientists continue to research. Much of the current research focuses on changes in lifestyle and eating habits, as certain foods and behaviors are known or suspected to influence the development of oral and oropharyngeal cancer.


Studies have revealed that eating black raspberries could aid in the prevention of oral cancer.

Animal Study Links Black Raspberries and Oral Cancer Prevention

The American Institute for Cancer Research recently presented an Ohio State University (OSU) study on black raspberries and tumor growth in rats.

For the research, rats with oral and oropharyngeal cancer were divided into three dietary groups. The control group ate a standard diet, while other two groups ate diets comprised of either 5 or 10 percent freeze-dried black raspberries, respectively.

The researchers found that the rats who ate the fruit showed increased signs of tumor cell death and reduced markers of inflammation, as compared to those on the standard diet.

Surprisingly, however, the 10 percent berry diet did not produce a better result than the 5 percent diet — just the opposite, in fact. Tumors in the rats eating the 5 percent diet shrank by 39 percent, while those on the 10 percent diet saw a reduction of only 29 percent.

Research on Berries and Oral Cancer Shows Promise

The OSU animal study was not the first to link cancer prevention and black raspberries.

In 2002, a different research team at OSU performed a similar study involving hamsters. Their results were the first to show that eating these berries can inhibit tumor growth in the oral cavity.

This research and other OSU studies (including one that studied the effect of berries on colon and esophageal cancer) have established a strong basis for scientists to examine the tumor-fighting properties of black raspberries. To date, the findings continue to be promising, suggesting that bioactive components in this fruit may indeed be valuable in oral and oropharyngeal cancer prevention.

Professional Recommendations for Oral Cancer Prevention

As human clinical studies have thus far been limited, scientists cannot state unequivocally that we can prevent oral and oropharyngeal cancer with dietary changes. However, since black raspberries are high in antioxidants, vitamins and fiber, adding them to your regular diet will benefit you in many other ways.

Oral surgeons recommend other steps for preventing oropharyngeal cancer as well. We advise patients to avoid the known risk factors, like alcohol consumption and smoking. Self-screenings and regular checkups, including oral cancer screenings, are a must. Checkups are the best way for us to detect the early warning signs of oral pathology.

And when the disease is noticed in the early stages, the chances for successful treatment greatly increase.

Here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, we are happy to offer more tips and information on cancer prevention strategies. We will also teach you and your family how to do your oral cancer self-checks each month. Call our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office to schedule your oral cancer screening appointment today.

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