METHODS: Head and neck cancer patients were recruited from July 2016 till March 2017 at National Cancer Institute, Ministry of Health, Malaysia. All study participants continued their standard oncology surveillance. Treatment group participants additionally received Chinese herbal treatment. The assessments included unstimulated salivary flow rate (USFR), stimulated salivary flow rate (SSFR), and QoL questionnaire.
RESULTS: Of 42 recruited participants, 28 were in the treatment group and 14 were in the control group. Participants were mainly Chinese (71.4%), stage III cancer (40.5%), and had nasopharynx cancer (76.2%). The commonly used single herbs were Wu Mei, San Qi, and Tian Hua Fen. Sha Shen Mai Dong Tang, Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, and Gan Lu Yin were the frequently prescribed herbal formulas. The baseline characteristics, USFR, SSFR, and QoL between control and treatment groups were comparable (p > 0.05). USFR between control and treatment groups were similar throughout the 6-month study period. SSFR for the treatment group significantly improved from 0.15 ± 0.28 ml/min (baseline) to 0.32 ± 0.22 ml/min (p = 0.04; at the 3rd month) and subsequently achieved 0.46 ± 0.23 ml/min (p = 0.001; at the 6th month). The treatment group had better QoL in terms of speech (p = 0.005), eating (p = 0.02), and head and neck pain (p = 0.04) at the 6th month.
CONCLUSION: Herbal treatment may improve xerostomia and QoL in post-radiotherapy head and cancer patients.
METHODS: We assessed fruit and vegetable consumption using data from country-specific, validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaires in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study, which enrolled participants from communities in 18 countries between Jan 1, 2003, and Dec 31, 2013. We documented household income data from participants in these communities; we also recorded the diversity and non-sale prices of fruits and vegetables from grocery stores and market places between Jan 1, 2009, and Dec 31, 2013. We determined the cost of fruits and vegetables relative to income per household member. Linear random effects models, adjusting for the clustering of households within communities, were used to assess mean fruit and vegetable intake by their relative cost.
FINDINGS: Of 143 305 participants who reported plausible energy intake in the food frequency questionnaire, mean fruit and vegetable intake was 3·76 servings (95% CI 3·66-3·86) per day. Mean daily consumption was 2·14 servings (1·93-2·36) in low-income countries (LICs), 3·17 servings (2·99-3·35) in lower-middle-income countries (LMICs), 4·31 servings (4·09-4·53) in upper-middle-income countries (UMICs), and 5·42 servings (5·13-5·71) in high-income countries (HICs). In 130 402 participants who had household income data available, the cost of two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day per individual accounted for 51·97% (95% CI 46·06-57·88) of household income in LICs, 18·10% (14·53-21·68) in LMICs, 15·87% (11·51-20·23) in UMICs, and 1·85% (-3·90 to 7·59) in HICs (ptrend=0·0001). In all regions, a higher percentage of income to meet the guidelines was required in rural areas than in urban areas (p<0·0001 for each pairwise comparison). Fruit and vegetable consumption among individuals decreased as the relative cost increased (ptrend=0·00040).
INTERPRETATION: The consumption of fruit and vegetables is low worldwide, particularly in LICs, and this is associated with low affordability. Policies worldwide should enhance the availability and affordability of fruits and vegetables.
FUNDING: Population Health Research Institute, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, AstraZeneca (Canada), Sanofi-Aventis (France and Canada), Boehringer Ingelheim (Germany and Canada), Servier, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, King Pharma, and national or local organisations in participating countries.