Background: Several studies have reported the importance of dietary factors in the development of esophageal cancer. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of several common dietary factors on the risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus in a Taiwanese population.
Methods: The association between diet and esophageal cancer was examined in 284 male patients and 480 male controls, who were recruited during 6 year period.
Results: Consumption of preserved and overheated foods was found to be associated with increased risk of esophageal cancer, whereas intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, and tea was inversely associated with this risk. Men who consumed fermented bean products, salted food and preserved/pickled vegetables more than once a week after age 40 years had a 3.4-fold risk (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.9–6.2), 2.3-fold risk (95%CI: 1.2–4.2), and 2.5-fold risk (95%CI: 1.3–4.5), respectively, compared to men eating these items less than once a week. It was further found that these preserved foods were more strongly associated with esophageal cancer among men who consumed fruit less than once per day than those who consumed fruits one or more times per day.
Conclusions: These results suggest that a high intake of preserved foods and overheated drinks might increase the risk of esophageal cancer, and intake of fruit, vegetables, and tea might be negatively associated with risk of esophageal cancer. The results also suggest that diet is an important factor in the development of esophageal cancer in Taiwan.