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Pomegranates Show Promise in Halting Lung Cancer

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Move over red wine and green tea, there is a new cancer-busting sheriff in town.

Research is mounting on the pomegranate’s health benefits and the news looks very promising. This unassuming fruit has shown to suppress inflammatory cell signaling proteins in colon cancer and prostate cancer and has other remarkable anti-tumor-promoting effects in skin cancer.

Now researchers at University of Wisconsin–Madison have shown consuming pomegranates could potentially help reduce the growth and spread of lung cancer cells—or even prevent lung cancer from developing.

In 2008, Hasan Mukhtar, PhD and co-leader of the Cancer Chemoprevention Program at the University of Wisconsin Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center demonstrated that drinking pomegranate fruit extract helps slow the growth of lung cancer in mice.

It’s too early to know if pomegranate juice will have the same effects on humans as it does in mice, but Mukhtar is very optimistic. “These recent findings expand the possible health benefits of the fruit to the leading cause of preventable cancer death in the country and worldwide: lung cancer,” he said.

Lung cancer has increased at alarming rates in the last decade, particularly because of upward global trends in smoking. Lung cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in the world, marginally behind colorectal cancer, representing about 28 percent of all cancer deaths, according to Lung Cancer: Global Incidence, Prevalence and Mortality to 2015. This year alone, lung cancer is expected to account for an estimated 12.5 percent of all new cancer cases in the leading economies.

In addition, physicians have found lung cancer difficult to control with conventional therapeutic and surgical approaches, and the prognosis is poor with an overall five-year survival rate of 10-14 percent in the United States. While more men than women die from lung cancer globally, statistics show lung cancer death rates for U.S. women are among the highest in the world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

The pomegranate fruit isn’t exactly treading in unfamiliar territory here.

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