Can cabbage help prevent cervical cancer?

November 15, 2004

Did your grandmother always tell you to "eat up your greens"? It appears that she may have known something scientists are only now discovering. When the substances produced in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, sprouts or cauliflower are eaten, they could help in the fight against cancer.

A research team headed by Professor Alison Fiander, Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at the Wales College Of Medicine, Cardiff University in the UKare asking women in Wales to help find out if one of these substances holds the key to cancer prevention.

A clinical trial is underway to determine if taking this substance as a food supplement reduces the incidence of cervical abnormalities. The supplement is called BioResponse Diindolylmethane (DIM for short) and seems to exert its effect by modifying the breakdown products of oestrogen in the body and by inducing abnormal cells to self destruct.

To obtain enough DIM to benefit, at least two raw heads of cabbage would need to be eaten daily. The trial uses a capsule containing DIM, already available as a herbal remedy in the United States. The makers of this capsule in America also claim that it may help with pre-menstrual syndrome but side effects include aggravation of migraines and an increase in intestinal gas (!)

The trial is sponsored by Cancer Research UK and is being run in conjunction with Dr Hilary Fielder Director Cervical Screening Wales Cervical Screening Wales. All women in the area who have either a second borderline or mildly abnormal cervical smear will be invited by letter to participate. The trial will involve taking DIM daily for six months whilst waiting for your next smear. Clinics will be held in the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

At the moment only women with borderline or mildly abnormal smears are being invited to participate, however, if a positive result is seen the research may be extended to include different groups of women, for example those with more severe abnormalities on their cervical smear. Participation in this trial is entirely voluntary.
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If you receive an invitation please ring and speak to a member of the research team, they will be happy to answer any questions you may have on 44-292-074-5365

Further information can be obtained by visiting the study website at www.dim.org.uk

For press enquiries contact Mary Leyshon, Public Relations Officer on 029-208-7904, leyshonmc@cardiff.ac.uk

Notes to editors

General

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain's leading teaching and research universities. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, the University today combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research with its proud heritage of service and achievement. The University's breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. From its outstanding central location amidst the parks, Portland-stone buildings and tree-lined excellence in all areas of activity. Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of Britain's leading research universities. Having gained national and international standing, Cardiff University's vision is to be recognised as a world-class university and to achieve the associated benefits for its students, staff and all other stakeholders. Visit the University website at: www.cardiff.ac.uk

Cymraeg Contact:
Am ymholiadau trwy'r Gymraeg: Mary Leyshon, Ffôn: 44-292-087-9074, E-bost: LeyshonMC@cardiff.ac.uk

Cardiff University

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