Cancer Communications
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Volume:36 Issue:8   2017

Salted vegetables and fish are traditional Chinese food, originating before the Bronze Age. The lifestyle of consuming salted food has been well maintained through thousands of years in China and Southeast Asia when the food preservation methods were very limited. However, an abundant of sodium nitrite, which is listed as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization in 2010, will be produced during the salting process of this type of food. Not surprisingly, accumulative epidemiologic and clinical evidence indicates that the consumption of salted vegetables and fish has a close association with risks of digestive tract cancers, including esophageal and gastric cancers, which are major cancers in China (please read the paper entitled “Estimates of cancer incidence and mortality in China, 2013” on pages 384-389 of this issue for details). In recent decades, with the popularized use of refrigerators, the consumption of salted food is reducing. It is therefore expected that the incidence of esophageal and gastric cancers might decline in the next two decades along with the change of lifestyle in terms of consuming less and less salted food in Chinese population.

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