Background: A number of countries in the South Pacific have very low cancer incidence. In spite of a high percentage of the population habituated to tobacco, the cancer incidence in countries such as Vanuatu and Fiji experience age-standardized cancer incidence in the 70's. A number of studies have noted the low cancer incidence in these countries and have postulated that a dietary chemopreventive agent might be responsible.
Methods: The cancer incidence studies for the Pacific Islands were completed in the 1980's. During this time period accurate records allow for a calculation of local kava consumption. This study compares the cancer incidence for a number of Pacific Island Nations with local kava consumption.
Results/conclusions: The data indicates that the more kava consumed by a population the lower the cancer incidence for that population. The data suggests there is a close inverse relationship between cancer incidence and kava consumption.