A decade-long study has found a link between oesophageal cancer and maize meal.
How is maize meal linked to oesophageal cancer?
The study was conducted by the Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape. The study found that fungus forms in maize meal that has been stored for more than a month. The gas emissions increase the consumers’ chance of oesophageal cancer.
SABC News reports that the study also found that the Eastern Cape has the highest recorded number of people in SA with oesophageal cancer.
There are two types of oesophageal cancer
The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) explains that the oesophagus is an organ consisting of a muscular tube through which food passes from the pharynx to the stomach. There are two main types of oesophageal cancer.
“Adenocarcinoma (AC) of the oesophagus: This type is usually found in the lower part of the oesophagus, near the stomach.
“Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the oesophagus: This type is usually found in the upper part of the oesophagus,” according to CANSA.
Professor Eugene Ndebia says fresh maize is 100% safe
Professor Eugene Ndebia from the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Medical Physiology at the Walter Sisulu University says people often don’t know that the maize meal they bought a month ago is the one that has developed the gas emissions.
“They don’t know that the mealie meal they are eating that was bought a month ago is not the same that one has developed a lot of gas emissions inside. It’s not a cause. No! But increases the risk of having the disease. The advice that we must give to people is that they must eat fresh mealie (maize) meal. They don’t store it for long. Even when they store, they must store a place where there is no humidity,” said Prof Ndebia.
Prof Ndebia noted that fresh maize in umqombothi is encouraged as this forms part of our heritage. He stated that fresh maize is 100% safe.
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