The Link Between Food and Cancer

The Link Between Food and Cancer

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world. However, some studies suggest that 30-50% of all cancers could be prevented by making some simple lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet. There has been some evidence supporting these studies. In addition to possibly preventing cancer, nutrition can also play a vital role in treating and coping with cancer. Continue reading to find out more about the link between food and cancer.

Eating Too Much of Certain Foods Can Increase the Risk of Cancer

It’s not that simple to prove that certain foods can cause cancer. However, some studies have suggested that a high intake of certain foods could increase cancer chances.

Sugar and Refined Carbs

Eating many processed foods that are high in sugar have been said to pose a higher cancer risk. Researches have found that a diet that raises blood glucose levels is generally associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancers, such as stomach, breast, and colorectal cancers. 

Processed Meat

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, processed meat is considered a carcinogen, which is something known to cause cancer. Process meat is any meat that has been treated to preserve flavor by undergoing salting, curing, or smoking. Some common types of processed meats are hot dogs, ham, bacon, chorizo, salami, and some deli meats.

Overcooked Food

Cooking some foods at high temperatures (grilling, frying, sauteing, broiling, and barbequing) can create harmful compounds such as heterocyclic amines and advanced end-products. The excessive buildup of these compounds can lead to inflammation and can also be linked to the development of cancer and other diseases.

Certain foods (especially animal foods high in fat and protein and highly processed foods) are more likely to produce these harmful compounds when exposed to high heat. These foods include meat (especially red meat), some cheeses, fried eggs, butter, margarine, cream cheese, mayonnaise, oils, and nuts.


Some studies have suggested that a diet that consumes a lot of dairy can increase prostate cancer risk. 

Obesity and the Connection to Cancer

Obesity can increase your risk of developing 13 different types of cancers, including cancer of the esophagus, colon, pancreas, kidney, and breast. Obesity can increase the risk of cancer in three ways:

  • Excess body fat can contribute to insulin resistance, which makes your cells unable to take up glucose properly. This encourages your cells to divide faster.
  • Obesity generally leads to higher levels of inflammatory cytokines in the blood. This can cause chronic inflammation. It can also encourage cells to divide.
  • Fat cells contribute to an increase in estrogen levels. This can lead to a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer in postmenopausal women.

Some Foods Have Cancer-Fighting Properties

No superfood can prevent cancer or treat it. Otherwise, it would be the most expensive superfood in the world. However, there are some types of foods that can reduce your risk of developing cancer. These foods are vegetables, fruit, flaxseeds, some spices (especially turmeric that contains high curcumin levels), beans, legumes, nuts, olive oil, garlic, and fish. 

Nevada Surgery and Cancer Center

Our specialists can help you cope with cancer when preventative measures have failed. Whether it’s something as simple as counseling or as complex as surgery, the professionals at Nevada Surgery and Cancer Center are here to help.